Wednesday, December 23, 2009
View From the Phlipside - Pepsi and the Super Bowl
These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown
My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside
Next year's Super Bowl is going to have one rather historic moment. Or more precisely it's going to have an historic absence. No, not the Bills failure to return to the big game but rather Pepsi's decision not to return to the big game. For the first time in 23 years the Super Bowl will not have a single Pepsi ad anywhere during the game. That's a big change for the number two soft drink company in the world. It may also herald a big change in the whole media advertising world too.
You see the Super Bowl isn't like any other advertising medium or event. At least not in this country. The Super Bowl is THE media event of every year. Every football fan in the country will be watching the fame or mourning the fact that they can't watch it. People who only care a little about football will be watching. And people who don't know or care about football at all will likely be watching it simply because that's where most of their friends will be that night. In the advertising industry it's all about the number of "eyes" you can access. That means the number of people you can push your message to at one time and in one place. And in the United States of America there is no better place to get seen than the Super Bowl. I mean let's face it, the game too often is boring so what do we wait for? THE COMMERCIALS! Because you know you're going to see the some of the very best of the year.
And Pepsi, perennially one of the bigger advertisers on the game, is taking a pass. It's not just the price, although a thirty second ad, just one mind you, is still running between two and a half and three million dollars. This is where you may feel the ground of the media world shifting beneath your feet a bit. They are going to put that money into something new, with a strong world wide web basis, called the Pepsi Refresh Project. It's a grant program designed to make the world a better place. Consumer will be able to go on line and vote on the projects that will be funded. The Pepsi Refresh Project is scheduled to be funded to the tune of twenty million dollars. That will be the flagship media vehicle for the cola.
Whether or not this new campaign will actually get people to buy Pepsi Cola remains to be seen. There is no doubt that this is a major shift for Pepsi and maybe in the advertising world too. It takes a lot of guts to walk away from the biggest advertising event of the year without a backward glance. We'll have to see if this idea makes the world want to sing in harmony with Pepsi.
Call that the view from the Phlipside