Pepsi’s Super Bowl Absence: A Smart Move

By February 9, 2010 No Comments

Three things are certain: death, taxes, and Pepsi Super Bowl TV spots. At least that s how it’s been for the past 23 years. But this year, Pepsi broke the trend, and stayed away from Super Bowl ads. In my opinion, it was a move that paid off.

This year, the company that previously brought us Britney Spears, Shaquille O’Neal, a MacGyver spoof, and (of course) Cindy Crawford redirected the countless millions they normally spend on Super Sunday. Each month for the duration of the campaign, the Pepsi Refresh project will accept 1000 ideas requesting funding for ways to improve your community. Everyone will be able to vote on these ideas, and up to 32 projects (ranging from under $5,000 to $250,000 per project) will be funded: up to $1.3 million per month. Of course, they will promote this through social media outlets – particularly through Facebook.

By now, no one needs to be introduced to the Pepsi brand. We know about Pepsi products. By investing their dollars this way, they’ll impact communities and connect at in individual level with people around the country, each of whom has a chance to help Pepsi decide what projects to fund. And whether you’re an individual, a non-profit, or a pro-social business, you can apply for project funding yourself.

A final feather in Pepsi’s cap comes from their good timing. By jumping ship from the Super Bowl ad frenzy, they may have generated more attention than their participation would have generated. In fact, for this very reason Pepsi was the first brand I heard discussed as Super Sunday approached.

I’d love to hear what you think: did Pepsi make a smart move this year? What advertisers made the most of their Super Bowl ad investment?

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