Traditional TV advertising

Social Media Advertising, Super Bowl XLIV, and The Pepsi Refresh Project.

Tonight during the Super Bowl, one of the consistent advertisers will not be present. Pepsi, is forgoing paying millions of dollars to run traditional 30 second spots, in favor of the social media “Refresh campaign” they launched almost two weeks ago.Personally I think it is a brilliant move on Pepsi’s part, and I hope that it proves to be a huge success for them. If it does, this marks a turning point in the way Social Media advertising will develop over the next few years.

Last Wednesday night at “Reinvention from the Ground Up”, sponsored by Razorfish, Bonin Bough, Global Director of Digital and Social Media at PepsiCo – provided valuable insights based on the brand’s significant accomplishments – and arguable leadership position in the space.  From the decision to launch the Pepsi Refresh campaign to the Dewmocracy initiative that crowdsourced the Mountain Dew line’s new flavors, PepsiCo’s assertive moves in the social media space provided an insightful case study from a Global CPG consumer brand and icon.

Given the evolving nature of the social media space, few conclusions were reached during the panel.  But PepsiCo offered some key insights based on their experience, and on their philosophy on integrating the medium holistically within their Global marketing organization.  Some of these thought-starters included:

  • Use the same success metrics for social media as for your overall marketing campaign.  Pepsi focuses on capturing consumer perception of key brand attributes (i.e., are people talking about Gatorade as a performance beverage), engagement, and cultural relevance (are they in the cultural conversation)
  • Crowdsourcing product development via Dewmocracy resulted in the most successful limited time offers (LTOs) ever – PepsiCo will launch a second round of this campaign
  • The real-time conversations taking place in the social media and digital space offer the richest resource for consumer insights and innovation – but require a process by which to monitor
  • How do you get your company and brand to evolve from a focus on impressions as a measure of media efficacy, to connections and engagement with consumers?
  • Rather than trying to shift more dollars into social media, refocus the discussion to reevaluating and optimizing how you use – and measure – each vehicle within your existing plan and budget.  For instance, capture how your TV spot drives emotional engagement with your audience, vs. purely how many impressions it garnered.  Use the reach offered by your TV spot to invite your consumers into the brand, and extend this emotional engagement across channels based on how your consumer interacts across each.
  • As a Global brand, Pepsi structures marketing teams differently to address fragmentation:
  • International markets will require different approaches: for instance, Pepsi’s participation in the World Cup will be much more important for its performance in Europe than in the States
  • Within the social media space, one group at Pepsi focuses on the 90% of consumers that act as participants in the social media space, while another might focus on the 10%that act as creators – and thus have different needs, preferences in how they interact in the space