Pepsi Give Away.

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I wrote recently about Pepsi’s 2010 decision to not run Super Bowl ads in favor the “Pepsi Refresh” project — a corporate effort to take the $20 million it usually spends and fund social projects like new playgrounds, high school band uniforms, etc.  The money would be distributed via a social media circus taking place on Facebook and Twitter.  

Apparently there were over 77 million votes registered in the ether, 120,000 idea submissions and 400 winners to date. The only losers seem to be TBWA/Chiat Day who helped come up with the dog of an idea and Pepsi itself, who saw sales drop 6% in a category that slipped 4.3%.  That’s a delta of 1.7% for those who are counting.    

“True that” I’m all about companies doing go.  But in order to do good, one must be a thriving brand.  Pepsi is not. Colorful, yes. Stylish, yes.  Happy and friendly, dittos. It’s not even holding its own in a tough sugar water market.

Pepsi Refresh was a bold step. Stealing refresh from Coke was an interesting notion. But marketing is about selling. Head of Pepsi Digital, Shiv Singh, says the project was “an investment to build brand awareness and cultivate a long term relationship with consumers. It was designed to drive brand health.”  Let’s get back to brand strategy Pepsi. That’s where health is…not in media strategy. Peace!