January 26, 2011

Pepsi Screws Up The Narrative

Last year, in a much ballyhooed move, Pepsi-Cola dropped its long-standing annual commitment to Super Bowl advertising in favor of a social media campaign.

This sent shock waves through the marketing chattersphere.

It was highly trumpeted as another symbol of the ascendancy of social media and the decline of that dead old bird, the 30-second tv spot. The media loved the story, as it confirmed the narrative they had fabricated over the previous 5 years about the death of TV advertising and the magical power of social media.
From Mashable:
"Such a large move is noteworthy for any company, however Pepsi’s symbiotic relationship with the Super Bowl makes this shift to new media that much more seismic."
From Huffington Post
"In 2010, each of our beverage brands... will be less about a singular event and more about a movement," ...said a Pepsi spokesbozo.
From Time magazine:
"This is exactly where Pepsi needs to be," ...said the CEO of a brand-consulting firm.
Some other published nonsense:
"...instead of flash and celebrities, Pepsi is attempting to engage consumers in community service.
"...But the real story is about the industry... even traditional-marketing mainstays like Pepsi have to get the best return on their dollar. Pepsi knows the mass media mega-buy story... Pepsi’s saying that they expect get more value by connecting with their audience directly. "
If you enjoy a good laugh, go back and read all the pompous nonsense that was written last year. And also don't forget to check the videos of social media "experts" clucking over this.

Well, as luck would have it, Pepsi's absence from the Super Bowl wasn't quite as "seismic" as predicted. According to press reports, they're dropping a ton of cash in the Super Bowl this year.

As is typical, Pepsi's return to the Super Bowl is getting significantly less attention from the media than its departure did.

You see, it just doesn't fit the "narrative."

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