Breaking a 23 year tradition of advertising at the American Super Bowl, Pepsi recently announced it will not advertise during the mega-event in 2010 and will instead focus on the Pepsi Refresh Project, a new social media marketing programme.
This constitutes a huge shift. The Super Bowl is considered to be the largest advertising event of the year in the US; people tune in to see the ads as much as to watch the game.
Last year, Pepsi spent a whopping $33 million advertising all its products, with $15 million of that devoted to Pepsi alone. Over the last 10 years (from 1999-2008) Pepsi has reportedly spent $142.8 million on the Super Bowl in famous ads featuring major stars such as Britney Spears, Cindy Crawford and Will.i.am.
And why have they decided to shun the Super Bowl? Stunningly, Pepsi plans to redirect its marketing dollars into a major social media marketing program called the “Pepsi Refresh Project”. Through the project, Pepsi plans to pay at least $20 million for various projects which will help ‘refresh’ communities.
On January 13,2010 a Web Site goes live where people can list their favorite community project. Topics could range from helping to feed people to teaching children to read. On February 1st, people will start voting to determine which projects they believe should receive money.
Frank Cooper, Pepsi’s senior VP chief consumer engagement officer, explains the shift from the Super Bowl to the Pepsi Refresh Project as moving from a ‘singular event to a movement”.
If Pepsi can shift their world in such a fundamental way, can you to do the same?
Like Pepsi, we may all be due to a re-evaluation of how we deploy our advertising and marketing dollars. Maybe we too should shift our energies away from the old and towards the newness and vibrancy of social media…