Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hitting it home: Pepsi's Refresh campaign

I'm in class right now, time to blog!

Someone just made a comment in class about how Obama's election isn't anything new, it's just the representation of American political sentiment at this moment. I'd seriously care to disagree, and Justin emphasized that 2M people in Washington is hardly evidence of the fact that Obama is no different than other presidents.

This all speaks to a larger cultural movement that's churning and frothing but still largely intangible.

Pepsi has relaunched its brand in an effort to ride this new cultural zeitgeist. It's now a fresher, edgier, more movement-focused brand. And it's coincided with the inauguration!

Here's their old look:

Here's their new look:

Familiar, but different. It's fun.

The centrepiece of the brand relaunch is the Refresh Campaign.

Check out the microsite: It's a social media site to aggregate the opinions and voices of normal citizens and Eva Longoria (among other celebrities).

It's been created to allow anyone to upload their own user-generated content that expresses their feelings of hope and optimism with the new President.

Even my current fascination, Lady GaGa, has gotten in on the action!

The Refresh campaign doesn't prominently feature any Pepsi products. I like this campaign because it's not about driving sales, it's about driving engagement (again, how does one actually value this? it even fair to value engagement by the classical measures of consumer value??)

The microsite is simply meant as an online interactive destination for their offline commercials. It's tied to a YouTube channel with Pepsi's new commercials and other related videos. The microsite doesn't have any search or folksonomy tagging capabilities so it's not too important for site visitors to find exact information on what people are saying, rather, it's meant to act as a speaker's corner for average voices to be heard.

So what's the point?

Two things:

Think of the optics: Pepsi is showing that they are a brand associated with change and youth (again). The TV commercial, courtesy of TBWA Chiat Day, was shown during key primetime spots (I saw it on AC 360 at 10:15pm, January 20) and captured the momentousness of the day. Check out the commercial. It's fresh and friendly.

Think of the non-quantifiable brand development: Tacitly, Pepsi's Refresh campaign is effectively sponsoring the Obama administration! It's piggybacking on a wave of interest in society in individualism, plurality, and self-expression. Pepsi is demonstrating that it understands the strong needs by consumers/voters for these things.

Pepsi is allowing consumers to be heard at a time when the urge to speak up has never been stronger.

To be fair, Coke is launching a big wave of new ads too. Analysts think the Colas Wars are going to begin again!

Great work by Pepsi and their agencies on this one, this is definitely a campaign i'd have loved to be involved in.

Excellent example of getting it done, creating a transparent and highly understanding brand personality, and emphasizing that Pepsi is a brand that unites and empowers people.

Way. To. Go.

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