by Adrienne Tallacksen
Is it April already? I could swear this is an April Fool’s Joke. It turns out that Pepsi is sitting out this year’s Super Bowl and is instead focusing on social media. Rather than spending millions on a Super Bowl ad, Pepsi has opted to promote its Pepsi Refresh Project campaign using social media tools including Facebook and Twitter. The campaign is aimed funding community projects through grants distributed by Pepsi. The projects are submitted and then voted on by visitors to the campaign’s website.
Pepsi’s agency, TWBA Worldwide, is quoted as saying, “The Super Bowl is just too extravagant for something like this.” This brings to mind a number of issues—cause marketing, social media, and a post-recession backlash against excess are just a few. Now that companies aren’t feeling the pinch of the recession as much, will more turn back to cause marketing? How will traditional media play into Pepsi’s campaign, if at all? Does corporate responsibility mean being frugal with your ad dollars?
Obviously, many brands feel that the high prices of Super Bowl ads are worth it. Pepsi says it’s trying to create a movement through this campaign. Is social media the only venue brands can use to create movements, or is there a place for traditional media in movement marketing, too?