Pepsi has been running TV Super Bowl ads for 23 years. It spent over $142 million in the last 10 years trying to convince consumers to drink more Pepsi using super models, celebrities, whatever might catch your attention between bathroom breaks. Well, that’s changing this year. Pepsi is forgoing their annual Super Bowl ad and choosing to spend $20 million on a Social Media Campaign – take a gander at The Pepsi Refresh Project.
Now I’m not saying Pepsi is going to convince a ton of people to start drinking Pepsi, but I’m pretty confident that they will get a much better ROI than the annual waste of funds on a Super Bowl ad. It’s not just the cost of the media, but the agency cost to create the ads, the marketing headcount costs to oversee the ad, etc.
Pepsi is taking a page out of the Social Media Marketing (SMM) Best Practices playbook by:
- Listening: Their customers/community prefer they spend the money differently
- Doing good: Being philanthropic gives their brand image a nice “refresh”
- Engaging: Visitors participate by entering an idea or voting for one
- Extending: They will run the Refresh Project for a few months vs. a 1 shot/1 day deal with the Super Bowl ad
- Sharing: They can count on the younger demographic to leverage their Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace pages.
I expect more big-name brands to follow suit very soon. So, the question for 2010 will be not “should I be doing SMM?” but “who’s doing SMM well and why?”