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Pepsi skips Superbowl ad in lieu of $20M social media campaign

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In a seismic move for the advertising industry, one of the superbowl’s largest and most consistent advertisers (23 years straight!) won’t be making an appearance this year. Instead, Pepsi is running a campaign to see how they can better local communities.

[thanks to Mashable for posting a blog about this]

What does this mean for advertising? Well for one thing it indicates a huge shift in the way that money is being spent – companies big and small are embracing social media on an increasing scale. It will be interesting to see if this campaign works.

Another important thing to note is how advertising itself is changing. Whereas ads used to be focused on how one company differs from the other, now companies are trying harder and harder to be better than the other. Not just better at advertising, or creating a superior product, but also more socially aware and better for the community.

Pepsi’s social media campaign to better communities is far from the first campaign to do anything like this. Coca cola recently launched its Expedition 206 campaign through social media. Maybe Pepsi was a little jealous? And of course I can’t speak about charitable giving without mentioning Target, who has been giving $3 million per week since I can remember, and who ran a campaign on Facebook to let fans decide where the money went.

This underscores that the value of social media is not simply another medium for your message. It is a medium for a different message. It is a way to connect with your audience (but you better have a darn good reason to connect). If you are just spewing web content and re-hashed tv ads, you won’t get the attention and engagement that we marketing gurus so desperately desire. Give your audience what they want, and that doesn’t always mean deals and free products. In the age of information, give your audience…um…information! You are the expert in your industry, you are passionate about your product, so convey that through a discussion.

As I prepare for long periods of sitting in front of the TV and computer this holiday season, unable to move because I’m in a food coma, I will be noticing which companies use this holiday season to give something to their audiences, and engage them in a meaningful way. You can do the same, or you can just read our blog after the holidays and I’ll let you know what you missed. Happy holidays!

– Andrew

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