Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crowdsourced campaign, crowdsourced creative.

While I was a-treadmilling it tonight in the gym, this crafty spot for the Pepsi Refresh project caught my eye.

I know the whole crowdsourced creative bit has been done. But, I think it works really well here. The entire idea of the campaign is crowdsourcing, why not reflect that in the creative? Beautifully done and perfectly appropriate, I think.

For those who don't know, the Pepsi Refresh Project, if I may, is a mostly-digital campaign in which Pepsi's designated Super Bowl 2010 ad dollars were instead siphoned into a fund for community grants. People submitted their ideas to be funded, and the public votes for which ideas are most fund-worthy. It's a genuinely interesting idea, and it's heartwarming to see the crazy amount of participation on the part of the community. I know crowd-sourced campaigns are supposed to be kind of passé, but, I'm not entirely convinced. This project really touches my heart. And, the idea of giving the mass comm premium to the masses is very interesting as well.

Of course, there is a question of ROI - I am curious to know whether Pepsi had the same sales goals for the Refresh campaign that they would have had given a Super Bowl strategy. And naturally, I am dying to know if they hit their goals. Still a work in progress, but if anyone has any info on how this is doing, please share!


  1. I may be mistaken, but I don't think a campaign of this nature mainly focuses on sales goals as a benchmark for success. Of course, Pepsi wants to see their share grow, but what this campaign is mainly doing is changing the consumer’s image of the #2 soft drink company.

    The strategy I think Pepsi has done an excellent job of executing is showing consumers that they care for people just as much as Coke, maybe more.

    While I don't know too much about the details of the Pepsi campaign (as only Pepsi and their AOR would have those), let's take a look at what Pepsi is up against…

    Pepsi: Historically has used celebrities to drive their branding campaigns, which despite the world’s obsession with celebrities, it does not allow Pepsi to tap into the current trend of corporate responsibility.

    The competition: It is an Olympics’ year and Pepsi knows their main rival Coke holds a title sponsorship. History shows Coke uses this sponsorship to voice how they are helping athletes reach their dreams, and by drinking Coke, the consumer is in turn part of the athletes reaching their dreams and can feel like they won too.

    What is missing? In Coke’s strategy, they are asking consumers to really stretch their opinion of charitable contributions and participation. After all, me drinking Diet Coke really doesn’t mean I can say I helped earn Lindsay Vonn’s gold medal. Her hard work alone and pure athleticism did that one.
    What Pepsi has done is provide the consumer with an opportunity to truly participate and make a difference. Whereas, Coke has not.

    In the end, I think people are focusing too much on the fact that Pepsi did not invest in the Super Bowl this year, and sight has been lost of the great execution of a strategy that has taken Pepsi in a whole new direction away from their typical celebrity driven spots and has given consumers a reason to act and care.

    A few points to ponder. Would Pepsi have executed this strategy had it not been an Olympics’ year? Also, many focus on this being mainly a digital campaign. However, the vehicle being used to drive the main awareness of the effort is still TV. I wonder how the investment is really spread across all channels and if the digital investment is mainly used for running the site itself. Regardless, just goes to show when all channels are used together, a great campaign is the result.

    *My apologies for a long-winded reply that may have gone off on a tangent, but I feel like you somewhat missed the larger picture of what this campaign has accomplished.

    (lol...hope you aren't regretting encouraging me to comment on your blog posts)

  2. Hi Amy,

    Thanks for your thoughts on the topic. I am aware (as are you) that there are more objectives at play than just sales in this, or any campaign. I don't always write with the intention of addressing all aspects of a campaign and in doing so, writing a novel in a blog post, but, these items are worth discussing as well.

    I purposefully spoke to sales for a specific reason that hits close to home. As you and I both know VERY well, there are some consumer goods companies out there who are hesitant to put their eggs in the digital basket because they feel that TV is the only medium that truly moves product. My question was about sales because I would love to see this postulate proved wrong. If product moves as a result of this campaign, it will be a great case study for the halo effect that an awareness / goodwill branding campaign can have on sales. After all, at the end of the day, we are in the business of selling products. The more digital case studies that do so, the better.

    Thanks again for reading and I appreciate your thoughts. I would never regret encouraging you to comment, and I hope you will start putting some of your thoughts in your own blog sooner rather than later... ;)


  3. Not sure this can be seen as a 100% digital case though...more of a campaign excellently executed across multiple channels.

    And working on my own blog too. Stay tuned :)