It’s social media fest out there.

The facts
In February, Pepsi took a bold step by deciding NOT to sponsor the emblematic Super Bowl event but instead to shift to social media and devote 20 mln usd to its new digital campaign: the Pepsi Refresh Project.

That in itself, created a worldwide buzz for the soda maker and proved to be great publicity: a brand that decides to turn to new forms of user-engagement sounds like an amazing pledge to the consumers of Pepsi.

The question
What people (you, me, consumers, onlookers), corporations at large, but also PR, advertising firms – you name it – want to know is, how can this new stance drive revenue growth ?
Did that just sound like I said a rude word ? Well, no, it’s not and I did not.

It’s simply the bottom line. The riddle is of course that in today’s landscape, the acts of selling, maintaining customer satisfaction AND gaining momentum to increase sales … have become both easier and a challenge.
Easier because with social media, companies can tap directly into the ideas, wants and needs of their end-users/customers/consumers to design their products and offers.
More challenging because with social media, companies need to learn to listen to and engage their end-users/customers in order to go forth.
Great riddle. Doesn’t this sound like the chicken and egg story, in the end ?

Pepsi Refresh: What it is
So finally, what is it ? Last month, I shared with you Coca Cola’s social media strategy so here is the Pepsi Refresh Project.
The motto is “In 2010, we’re giving millions of dollars to fund ideas that will refresh the world. Your ideas.”
Pepsi is calling on consumers to present their digital pro-social ideas in the form of an interactive competition where anyone can vote to elect the best ideas. In turn, those winning ideas will receive Pepsi funding — they call them grants — to be implemented into reality. The grants range from 5,000 usd to 205,000 usd, depending on whether the contender is an individual, a group of persons or organizations and also the size of the bounty depends on the size of the organizations.
Categories: Health, Arts & Culture, Food & shelter, The Planet, Neighborhoods and Education. The competition kicked in on March 1st.

Sorry folks, the video embedding code provided by Pepsi does not work (!!). But you can go watch the Pepsi Refresh Project video HERE .

Ideas can be submitted on the Pepsi Refresh website and those that get validated will be voted upon for the grants. The process renews itself every month. Companies like Mashable are jumping on the bandwagon, promoting the Pepsi social-media race by offering their readers to submit ideas through them and thereby benefit from a 50,000 usd grant as an organization instead of going solo. Read about that initiative

Refresh The World ? Global or U.S.-only ?
Back to Pepsi Refresh and the motto: “…ideas that will refresh the world. Your ideas.”
So far, it looks like U.S. residents only are allowed to enter the competition. I have gone through a few of the submissions and, quite logically, it also looks like the projects are about improving America locally or on a national scale, in each of the categories I mentioned above.
So does Pepsi intend to open up the competition to the rest of the world at some point ? Or is “the world” they refer to solely limited to America ?
I’m sure global fans, consumers and on-lookers will have a say about that. But hey, I’ve no idea of Pepsi’s concrete geographical spread and market shares.

Let’s see how this bet turns out for Pepsi. Stay tuned.

PS: remember YOU can participate to doing GLOBAL SOCIAL GOOD too by clicking on the Water charity box in the right sidebar. Thanks !

  1. mark1point0 says:

    A Fan page of Coke on Facebook, had bloomed inquiry to the ingredient HFCS, and lead to call Coke into “real sugar” (I was a fan). As I scrolled down, suddenly the thread volume dropped — all the people, NOT cheer-leading, there posts were pulled from the thread today. I just dropped Coke from my fan pages for that reason.
    Nice blog, the link below is and blog entry I did about Coke-Cola;
    Maybe Pepsi, IS, the choice of the new generation.

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