Tag Archives: TV

Pepsi falls out of love with Super Bowl

Media sales guys don’t usually struggle too much trying to sell Super Bowl ad spots. After all, with a huge US television audience (around 90 million this year) it must be a no-brainer for brands, right?

Wrong. Pepsi, usually a shoe-in for a Super Bowl spot, have this year bucked their own trend by eschewing the NFL showpiece in order to invest the money in…you guessed it, social media.

Instead of the whopping $36million thay spent on the spot in 2009, Pepsi are running a 1-year social media stunt for the price of $20million.

It’s called ‘refresh everything‘ and it basically works by giving away the $20million in different sized chunks to fund ideas that have a ‘positive impact’. Anyone can put forward an idea, and anyone can vote on who they think deserves it. Pepsi have created six categories so they can classify the type of idea (health, arts & culture, food & shelter and so on) and and have bundled up four sizes of ‘grant’ – between $5k and $250k – aimed at different audiences, from individuals to organisations. At the end of the month, the ideas with the most votes get the cash.

They’re pushing the content out to their Facebook page, using the huge social network to drive users to their campaign, and using Facebook Connect to make it easier for people to log-in to vote.

So why have Pepsi gone all social media on us? According to Ralph Santana, vice-president of marketing for PepsiCo North America: “We’re living in a new age with consumers. They are looking for more of a two-way dialogue, story-telling and word of mouth. Mediums like the digital space are much more conducive towards that.”

Amen, brother.

The idea of the 30 second ad spot that is seen by millions but converts thousands is old and tired. The idea of brands engaging with people on their own terms, letting them interact and fostering ideas and creativity: that’s young and fresh.

Pepsi Refresh


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TV, funding and the BBC

For a number of years now there has been a lot of hand-wringing at the commercial broadcasters’ over how to fund quality TV programming in a shrinking advertising market. I know this because I read the papers, but also because I have a friend who works for Channel 4,  and our conversation often swings around to this very subject after she’s had a few glasses of wine down the pub. Changing viewing habits, on-demand TV, PVRs, internet services, YouTube, the increase in the number of channels available to the consumer – they’re all whittling away at once mighty advertising revenue figures, and leaving broadcasters scratting around in the dirt for cheap (and in my opinion often dirty) TV.

Commercial broadcasters have seen advertising revenues slump over the past through years

Nothing you don’t already know there.

Against this backdrop, I noticed a piece in the Guardian on Wednesday (23rd September 2009) about the BBCs ‘arrogance’. It stated: ‘Meanwhile, the BBC is under siege from commercial competitors who argue that its dominance is distorting the market at a time when they are struggling to survive one of the most serious advertising downturns for generations’ and later: ‘Murdoch…used a landmark speach…to call for a “far far smaller” BBC’. You can read the full article here.

Well, hang on just a minute. Yes it is the worst advertising downturn for generations – but it’s not a temporary blip, it’s a long-term decline caused by changing technologies. It’s not going to get better fast. And I for one thank the lord that the BBC is at least somewhat insulated from its effects. After all, isn’t the licence fee a revenue stream? And doesn’t it work? Don’t we get four channels (and extras such as cbeebies, HD and News) of quality programming, a web resource second to none, and to crown it all the mighty iPlayer for only £140 odd a year? How good is that? Frankly Murdoch, if a ‘smaller BBC’ means losing out on innovations like the iPlayer, or the total awesomeness that is Radio 6 Music, you can stuff it. I’ll happily pay my £12 a month.

It also begs the question as to why other countries don’t adopt a similar model. I’m no expert in global broadcasting trends, but I had a conversation with a Canadian friend of mine who has been living in the UK for a few years now who was amazed at the quality of the BBC and by just how much we got for our money. I wonder whether it would make sense for  other nations to think about safeguarding their national broadcasting heritage by pumping in a bit of state cash. After all, what’s good for the banks…

Image thanks to fatcontroller

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