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.”
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.