In 2010, PepsiCo launched “The Pepsi Refresh Project” with the aim of increasing brand awareness, creating a long-term relationship with its consumers and work on its diminishing sales. The project was also initiated with a social cause of giving back to the society. The campaign involved consumers from all over the country applying for grants in exchange for ideas that would help the world and make it a better place.
Using the brand dollar for the betterment of the society, the project was a win-win scenario for both company, consumer and the society. With the objectives of the campaign to raise awareness and interest in Pepsi as the suitable platform for idea creation with continuous alignment of program objective messages across all media channels.
With the target audience of millennial generation, Pepsi hoped to achieve success of creating a socially responsible brand through the campaign’s complex strategic planning. The strategies included positioning Pepsi as a credible motivator through creating intellectual capital around “where ideas come from” and casting a national spotlight by signing contracts with the NFL, the MLB, the U.S. Men’s National Team, and NASCAR, on the implementation of ideas for refreshing change by announcing the diversion of funds to implement the Project to drive awareness and increase participation at grassroot level by encouraging online engagement with the consumers through the Project understanding and learning the priorities of its customers.
Though the project received huge appreciation through participation, the brand visibility and brand image improved significantly, it created issues for the brand of depending on the campaign entirely for marketing, using dollars earmarked for the brand advertising.
Again, the continuation of the campaign threatened the image the persisting brand image of the company of ability to amuse and entertain its consumers continuously.
Q2. Should the Pepsi brand team continue to fund Pepsi Refresh Project in 2011? Why or why not?
Ans: The Pepsi brand team should continue to fund the Refresh project by Pepsi.
The Pepsi Refresh project is the first of its initiative for positioning it as a consumer brand and it had proved to directly respond to the needs of the consumers. The project also helped PepsiCo’s ability to increase visibility in stores and contributed towards the enhancement of its brand image.
The refresh project website generated more traffic and better content leading to deeper engagement and stronger relationship, which wouldn’t have been possible to achieve through traditional means. It generated 3.24 billion media impressions, 3 million Facebook fans and 53 thousand Twitter followers. Thus, by leveraging the power of digital platforms and leaving behind the traditional marketing methods this program has been successful in changing the way in which brands converse with the consumers.
The project also encouraged employee participation by providing them a platform to give their ideas. This benefitted the company by instilling in the employees a sense of pride and motivation to work.
Although there hasn’t been a positive effect on the sales through this project in 2010, yet, in the long run, the project might turn out to be profitable; resulting in more shelf space and increased sales and revenue.
Q3. If the Pepsi team continues with Pepsi Refresh in 2011, what changes would you make to the program to better achieve the brand objective?
Pepsi should split their budget so the funds can be allotted to the sales-enhancing and refresh project.
Since the project left other aspects of the equity of the brand at risk and involved a lot of risk and involved a lot of employee time. The project scale can be reduced to 6000 ideas per year.
Advertising the Refresh project in public media will also help in increasing the sales.
Giving the special advantages to Pepsi users can also increase the votes for their ideas.
The project was flawed as Pepsi attempted to support a wide variety of communal projects which led to differentiated results and difficulties in deciding for which to vote.
There was no direct connection to any particular problem In 2011, Pepsi should increase control and concentrate on specific causes and lead to positive results.
Pepsi should build on its long- lasting connection to pop culture and focus more on funding and advocacy in the arts and music sector in order to harness the power of social impact.
Q4. Do you agree with PepsiCo’s decision to not advertise during the Super bowl 2010? Why? What did they gain and what did they sacrifice by moving marketing dollars from traditional advertising?
Ans: As a brand manager, I think it’s a very risky yet bold decision for Pepsi to not advertise during the 2010 Super Bowl. Although, this does possess it’s own set of challenges, such as the downfall of product demand. So, the Refresh project could achieve a major shift in repositioning of the brand, if sustained for long.Moving marketing dollars from traditional advertising came with it’s own set of mixed results. A huge amount of social capital for the brand was created by this campaign, which had a strong potential for increasing sales, as it was found on the previous research that consumers preferred brands with high social capital. However, walking away from that arena was not easy; people had lost their minds initially when Pepsi decided to abstain itself from the Super Bowl 2010, as people valued Pepsi’s appearances as part of the cultural experience of the game too. And even though a large value of social capital was crated, one can’t help but argue about the potential of an ad at a Super Bowl like event, that could serve as a catapult by directly launching the campaign into the social network. It penetrates a lot more than an incidental blog post, and can create massive viral multiples. Therefore, Pepsi should advertise in the upcoming Super Bowl, showcasing the results of the Refresh Everything campaign, which would consequently help to build an even better social capital.
Q5. Is Pepsi the right brand for a cause marketing program like the Pepsi Refresh Project? Why or why not?
Ans: Yes, Pepsi is the right brand for a cause marketing program.
The refresh project campaign’s idea was to spread good, positive projects that could change the world and communities in various aspects such as health, fitness, arts and culture, food and shelter, and education. These were the causes to which the brand was closely aligned with.
PepsiCo’s sales were slumping, and the brand image too was at risk. Moreover, the brand was also being labeled as a leading factor in obesity among youth and required an improvement. According to the studies that Pepsi undertook to evaluate the consumer’s response to companies with social responsibility, consumer preferred companies which work on social causes. Along with this, PepsiCo was in search of a strategy that would help to improve the current brand image, as an unhealthy soft drink. The “Pepsi refresh project” was therefore an attempt to improve the sales and the brand image.
The alignment of the brand with a cause that is valuable to its consumers is known as the cause marketing and it is an important step for the brand affinity. So, PepsiCo keeping in mind the same, changed its slogan to “brand that not only takes but gives back” as the project would consist of contests and programs that would allow consumers to come up with innovative ideas which would help in giving back to communities.
Through this, Pepsi refresh project played a significant role in making consumers aware of its societal benefits and looked forward to be profitable as well.