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Brands that put the campaign into the hands of the consumer struck me in particular as a rising trend, playing on the idea of ‘make the idea yours’. This seems to be an effective approach; brands are now lending the success of the campaign to the consumer by getting them involved. This may be through asking for their creativity or like Pepsi, asking consumers to suggest ideas to help build the success of their campaign.

Pepsi’s bold move to refrain from NLF advertising and invest in social media

Pepsi announced that in 2010 it would allocate its usual 20 million US dollar advertising spend from the NFL to invest in social media increasing its digital spend by 60%. The charity campaign Refresh Everything gets individuals involved by asking them to suggest charities for Pepsi to support.

Key digital campaign elements:

  • Conversation and engagement – with 32 grants given each month over a five month period, interested individuals and groups will feel they have a chance that their suggestion will be selected providing an incentive to enter and significantly aiding great conversation around the brand
  • Giving ownership – it therefore goes without saying that there will be a large pool of individuals and groups that would have directly contributed to the development and campaign roll out
  • Strength and consistency in message and activity – this campaign will be rolled out and integrated into all of Pepsi’s marketing effort for consistency and strength of message
  • Socially responsible message – strong focus on charity
  • News worthiness – such a bold move to refrain from NFL advertising and reallocate budget is news alone, coupled with the above points certainly makes for an interesting story amongst the industry
  • Demonstrating forward thinking and commitment to digital – shown by the fact that Pepsi’s digital efforts run through their marketing activity, even looking outside the campaign we see Pepsi has provided brand sponsorship to Social Media Week in New York. Such a strategic move would suggest that this decision and commitment is supported by senior management, highlighting that they are serious and committed to digital.

Success factors:

  • The test will be to see how this impacts competitor sales with Coke who has integrated a charitable campaign element to their Superbowl advertising.
  • Will the combination of socially responsible behaviour through charity activity and a digital campaign create the right types of conversations, awareness and associations around the brand to reach Pepsi sales targets and competitive positioning?

What do you think of Pepsi’s move? How effective do you think their approach is and should other major brands also be moving in this digital direction?

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