Can Pepsi keep refreshing us ? - KEROPS

Can Pepsi keep refreshing us ?

Do you remember ? It was back in 2010. Pepsi decided for the fist time in 23 years not to have ads in the traditional US major event Superbowl telecast. Instead, the company announced they would invest heavily in social media with a 20 million $ commitment to a social media play it was calling the Pepsi Refresh Project. The announcement made quite a noise worldwide. Such a giant advertiser ditching Superbowl TV ads could not but be regarded as an encouragement to move budget faster from TV to the net.
Pepsi was hoping then that its social media strategy would garner attention, participation and a deeper connection with its audience that had been missing for some time. The Pepsi Refresh Project was launched early 2010 with a Web site where people could outline their projects to refresh their communities to make a better world.
I must say I was quite seduced at that time and very enthusiastic to see such a major company investing in that generous an idea. Unfortunetaly, the Refresh project ended in December 2011 and over the past two years, Pepsi has renewed with its traditional TV ads during the Superbowl event with the same good old receipy of using celebrities to capture attention to seduce the 110 million people watching the event. In last February’s Superbowl minute-long ad spot, titled “King’s Court, Elton John and The X Factor winner Melanie Amaro were used as Pepsi’s ambassadors.
The fact that Pespi’s Refresh Project initiative is over raises a certain number of questions.
1. Is the Refresh project definitely over and does Pepsi estimate that within 2 years the company’s contribution to a better world has been sufficient enough ? In that case, I am afraid there is some reason to believe that doing good is just a storytelling thing Pepsi used to get the favor of its public with no real long term commitment. Climate change, sustainable development, fight for a better world then just become pretexts to capture attention and better manipulate people. After two years, time to move to a new and more exciting story.
2. Another question is how efficient has been Pepsi’s initiative in developping the brand and driving the sales. Ultimately, I am not quite sure saving the world is that exciting an idea for most the people watching the Superbowl event and drinking Pepsi at the same time. Possibly the old Pavlovian marketing consisting in pushing basic and repetitive messages is delivering better results than expecting people talking highly about you on social media because you intend in a genuine and generous move to participate to launch initiatives in favor of local communities.
Let’s keep being optimistic and see if Pepsi will decide one more time in the years to come to cut its spending on TV ad during Superbowl to renew with a grand and generous program on social media. Personaly and very sadly, I am dubious about that.

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