By Todd Murphy | February 11th, 2011
How soon we forget. Just over a year ago Pepsi made big news when they officially announced, and I mean in a big way, they were skipping their usual Super Bowl advertising campaign. This ended 23 years of memorable ads. They had announced they were going all in for social media and would be betting that Super Bowl money on the “Pepsi Refresh” initiative.
To Pepsi, and other marketing agencies, those early days of social media (last year) meant that traditional marketing vehicles were dead. Time Magazine stated that the days of “mass-market media…are officially over”. Oh what a difference a year makes. Here we have a classic, and very large lesson in #samerules #newtools.
Pepsi returned to advertising during the Super Bowl in a very big way this year. They had a total of at least three Pepsi commercials air during Super Bowl play. Hmmm, three ads airing on such an old, mainstream medium like broadcast television. How could this be when just in December of 2009 the media was all a flutter, not to mention “a twitter”, with news of Pepsi’s $20 Million dollar investment in their social media campaign. All social media last year, back on TV this year? Pepsi finally figured out what others have realized and is the point of this blog. Pepsi figured out that it is not “one thing”, but everything. You can’t just go all-in for social media any more than you can only advertise on radio or print. The true audience is too segmented and small in social media. Smart marketing means you have to pursue your audience and reach them with a variety of tools to get your message out. The same, fundamental rules of marketing have not changed…we simply have new tools at our disposal. These new tools are great opportunities and bring unprecedented interaction from target audiences.
Companies like Vizio have mastered the interaction between social media and mainstream media through pop icon, Beyonce. Using one medium to push the other. All roads need to lead to everywhere when applying the #newtools of marketing and public relations. Some campaigns will lend themselves better to one medium over another, but forsaking all other mediums for one medium is generally a fools errand. In Pepsi’s defense several of the top commercials this year were created by alleged consumers. Pepsi/Doritos crowd sourced the winning ads by letting the public vote online (a #newtool tactic). Did you see those Dorito’s Ads (a PepsiCo company)?
It seems Pepsi has learned their lesson in a very public way, but I haven’t seen too much news about this change of heart. I’ve heard that in the old days when a company figured out they had made an advertising mistake they would simply redirect without drawing attention to it. Could that be what’s going on here? Such an old-fashioned notion…
Leave your thoughts regarding Pepsi’s change of direction when it comes to big advertising and social media. You can also view some classic and current ads from Pepsi.