Give Pepsi some credit. In addition to its efforts to offer consumers healthier options, the beverage behemoth also plans to forgo the Super Bowl to work on expanding into new media. This will be the first time in 23 years that Pepsi will not air an advertisement during the Super Bowl. That’s a big deal, both culturally and financially.
Instead of advertising during the Super Bowl, Pepsi is focusing its energy and money on its online presence where the brand believes a younger and accessible demographic is spending its time. The Pepsi Refresh Project will feature social-networking campaigns that leverage the participate/contribute-and-vote-online model that many brands have used in the past to encourage consumers to engage with their products via the Internet.[more]
Pepsi is looking to appeal to the consumer’s more compassionate side by offering grants “to those presenting the best ideas to improve the communities we call home and, perhaps, transform the society we call America.” The $20 million digital-based project will highlight a new website and Facebook presence – because isn’t that where all the kids are these days? And their parents for that matter?
Ralph Santana, VP of marketing for PepsiCo North America, felt strongly about the new strategy: “We’re living in a new age with consumers. They are looking for more of a two-way dialogue, storytelling and word of mouth. Mediums like the digital space are much more conducive towards that.”
The big winner is this development, however, is Facebook. Major brands such as Budweiser and Coca-Cola are increasingly investing advertising dollars and building their marketing strategies around the popular social platform. Facebook allows corporations to contact consumers directly with the creation of brand-centric pages and themed applications.
And now, Pepsi will skip commercials during the Super Bowl in favor of a more contemporary and personal form of advertising.
If it is successful, look for big changes in how brands invest in Super Bowl commercials in the future.