Recently Pepsi, a long time Superbowl advertiser (Cyndi Crawford anyone?) announced a switch in their advertising strategy. Rather than spend an estimated $20M in ads for America’s largest sporting event, they would be driving a social media campaign called the Pepsi Refresh Project. AdAge sums up the core tenant of the project:
“Consumers, businesses and nonprofits could then submit their ideas for how to have a positive effect on their community. Pepsi has said it plans to pledge at least $20 million in grants to the effort.”
In short, this campaign is a crowdsourcing effort – not unlike Dell’s IdeaStorm, Best Buy’s IdeaX, and My Starbucks Idea – that channels funds that would have been applied to SuperBowl advertising, into a user identified community giving program.
The difference? Execution. Pepsi’s effort was fraught with privacy and security issues that tarnished the first step of what could be a very good campaign. There is upside however. I think that many people will respect what Pepsi is attempting to do. Rather than spending millions of dollars on less than a minute’s worth of shameless self promotion during the world’s largest sporting event – they are putting those powerful dollars towards programs that will have a positive impact within the community – a generous foray into Cause Marketing. Kudos to them for that.