Caterina Ventrella

Bold Move: Pepsi switches from Super Bowl to social media

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 1:16 am

Marketers have good reason to claim the Pepsi Refresh Project as “innovative” and “impactful”.  Pepsi’s decision to replace its 23-year old ad spot from Super Bowl XLIV with a  $20 million social media campaign has the industry watching and waiting to see how it all ends. Pepsi’s unique campaign strategies and objectives  make it a first-of-its-kind. Experts fear a 30-second television spot would have yielded a greater ROI than a year-long campaign.

 At first, few corporations were brave enough to launch a social media campaign. But it’s come to light that social media is not a fad.  It’s imperative for organizations to go online and connect with their audiences. Corporations need to do less talking and more listening as consumers take hold of the conversation that’s taking place online. It has to do with a little something called PR 2.0. For these reasons, I think the Pepsi Refresh Project will be a success:

Market penetration and reach
The heart of the campaign takes place on the project’s website People have the opportunity to select the social media tools they`re most familiar with to pitch their idea. Supplementary pages exist on the different social media applications like their  Twitter page , YouTube channel and Facebook page. While some social media campaigns operate directly out of one specific application, Pepsi uses these as extensions of the main website. This gives both Pepsi and the public more creative control. Also, people who do not have profiles on these social media applications can still participate through the project website. For a better look at the tech factors, click here.

Clever take on CSR and creating conversations
The campaign positions Pepsi as socially responsible. It communicates the brand`s commitment to sustainability and community building.  Companies typically research which CSR initiatives connect with the hearts of their consumers. Here, consumers tell Pepsi what’s important to them. This removes the risk of supporting initiatives that don’t resonate with its audience.

Conceives active followers who willingly become brand evangelists
People vigorously promote their idea to gain votes by directing traffic to the Refresh website. Promoting the Pepsi brand in addition. Celebrities such as Demi Moore have  submitted project ideas in need of funding. To read more about the people involved, click here.

Innovative qualities and increased coverage
Marketers don’t know whether to praise or pass judgement on Pepsi’s decision to walk away from one of advertising’s top ten commandments – to have a million dollar spot in the Super Bowl. The decision alone attracted loads of media coverage before the project was even launched.

Evaluation and measurement
Super Bowl ads only provide a specific amount of media impressions. The digital ads generate concrete ways of evaluating audience size, such as the number of voters, website hits and ideas submitted.

Customer interaction and commitment
A Super Bowl commercial captures an audience for about 30-seconds. And if controversial enough, could make it to the water cooler and morning show banter the next day.  The Refresh Project exposes its audience to the brand for a greater length of time. People will revisit the site over and over again to pitch ideas, vote for projects and check out who won each month.

Unleashing a social media campaign in the digital community is not always a recipe for success. Like any marketing campaign, the Refresh Project has its very own weaknesses and threats. Your bound to come across another online campaign within your first 5 clicks away from this blog. Conduct as quick social media S.W.O.T analysis to see how other online corporate campaigns measure up.

  1. […] the traditional Superbowl ad and stepping up with its REFRESH program?  For details on REFRESH catch this series by a group of my HumberPR students.  Kudos to Pepsi and Weber […]

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