For all the talk about social media marketing (and there’s been a lot of it this year), the biggest news of the year may be Pepsi’s decision to abandon the Super Bowl. Instead, Pepsi will be embracing a $20-million social media campaign called The Pepsi Refresh Project in which consumers will be encouraged to suggest projects to make a better world.
The significance of Pepsi’s decision should not be overlooked given it has spent $142-million over the past 10 years on Super Bowl ads, which costs millions of dollars to make and broadcast. The fact Pepsi has pulled out completely is stunning – perhaps as stunning as Apple’s decision to do a Super Bowl ad in 1984.
It’s also a tremendous boost for social media. To be frank, 2009 has been the year of talk in which everyone has enthusiastically extolled the benefits of social media’s ability to engage and have conversations with customers in an open and transparent way. What Pepsi has done is turn talk into walk.
The question is whether Pepsi’s decision will be the straw the break’s the back of traditional media advertising. In the words, will other companies get on the social media marketing bandwagon now that a high-profile company such as Pepsi is doing it?
My take is that looking back a year from now, people will point to Pepsi’s move as the turning point for social media marketing.
For more, check out Larry Woodard’s article in ABC News/Money.