Pepsi drops Super Bowl for social media

Ronny Kerr · December 24, 2009 · Short URL:

First time in 23 years, Pepsi's millions for advertising will go elsewhere

Pepsi Refresh ProjectIn what will be called one of the most monumental milestones in TV and broadcast media's battle with the Internet for content, viewership, and advertising, Pepsi has decided not to join the Super Bowl's massive advertising spectacle this year, instead opting to place its money along strategically placed spots on social media sites and platforms.

This is the first time in 23 years that Pepsi's high-production spots won't be found in the commercials for the biggest sporting event of the year. Between 1999 and 2009, Pepsi spent over $142 million on Super Bowl ads, but that number won't be growing anymore come February, according to ABC News.

Instead, Pepsi will put over $20 million into The Pepsi Refresh Project, a social media advertising campaign set to launch in 2010. On January 13, Pepsi will begin accepting requests from the community for project proposals by which Pepsi can "make the world a better place." The winning project by number of votes (voting starts February 1) will receive up to $20 million to make the project a reality.

Before the rocket launch rise of social media, the Super Bowl's ability to sit down over 95 million viewers (42% of TV-equipped US homes) seemed like the best possible avenue to reach people. Even a 30-second spot during the commercials would draw in a massive number of potential customers.

On the other hand, 85% of people aged 18-34 use popular social media sites. Facebook is the biggest, with 350 million users worldwide. Just tapping into a percentage of that kind of advertising potential could easily earn Pepsi more viewership than would the Super Bowl.

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