I believe insanity works in stages. There’s put tomato sauce on everything level of crazy. Then there’s spend $23 million dollars on one of the most expensive advertisements in history crazy. The catch? It isn’t really an advertisement at all.
Pepsi was faced with a dilemma of sorts. They could have taken their $20 million dollars and invested it in a swazzy superbowl commercial, decked out with golden lined glasses and Betty White promising that Pepsi brings immorality. Or they could have taken a refreshing approach to social marketing. We’re glad they chose the latter!
Pepsi took $20 million of hard earned revenue and gave it right back to the community. They used very little of this for marketing – the aim was to make the world a better place rather than promote themselves as making the world a better place. So the reach of this campaign was truly through people sharing the story and voting.
And did this community approach really work? You bet. The first round of applications closed within sixteen hours. The next within sixteen minutes. The website could not handle all the traffic from people wanting to submit their ideas for making the world a better place.
How else could $20 million be spent?
Just ask Chanel, who spent the same amount on an advertisement for luxury perfume Chanel No 5. This glittery ad has everything you would find in a weird dream formed by the dark corners of your mind: a kaleidoscope of city lights, no obvious storyline and Nicole Kidman whispering sweet nothings. Yeah, you might want to watch it to believe it:
$20 million dollars, a team of strategic marketers and two completely different campaigns. One makes you feel hopeful and brand loyal, the other just makes you slightly uncomfortable.
I can’t promise you that diehard Coca-Cola fans will give up their favourite beverage after the Refresh Project. However I can assure you that this soft drink giant has somehow managed to turn their negative image a whole lot more philanthropical.