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The Pepsi Refresh Project
Describe the campaign/entry:
Pepsi is a brand that has always embodied the spirit and optimism of youth. In 2009 Pepsi
leveraged this with the idea 'Every Generation Refreshes The World', launched through a
highly visible advertising campaign. While effective, Pepsi knew that ultimately it would take
more than words to convince people of their intent.
In 2010 Pepsi launched the Pepsi Refresh Project. This groundbreaking initiative combined
social media, corporate philanthropy and gaming elements. It put Pepsi back at the forefront of
culture this time as a force for positive change.
The idea was simple. Every month 1,000 ideas are submitted. The public votes, and the top
32 ideas are awarded grants totaling $1.3MM a month.
The power of it came from the explosion of canvassing on and off-line from submitters. Each
submitter essentially becomes an advocate for the brand, spreading the idea through culture
in their endeavor to attract votes.
Describe how the campaign/entry was launched and executed across each channel in
the order of implementation:
Before going live, we worked with influencers in the cause space, ensuring they understood
the program and started spreading the word.
The first piece of mass communication was a continuation of the iconic 2009 'Wordplay'
campaign. Posters were tailored to set up expectation that 2010 was to be a year of action for
Pepsi and consumers.
At the same time, we launched the Refresh Project online at refresheverything.com. Initially a
resource for submitters, in time it became the hub of all things Refresh – a community of
submitters, voters and grant recipients.
This was followed by a TV, radio, print and online campaign calling for submissions and votes,
directing people towards refresheverything.com.
Pepsi also pulled out of the Super Bowl for the first time in 23 years, in order to divert money
towards Refresh Project grants. This bold move created a huge amount of buzz around the
Refresh Project.
Give some idea of how successful this campaign/entry was with both client and
consumer:
To date there have been over a billion impressions generated by the Refresh Project, which
represents $27M of earned media from both the mainstream and grassroots.
Advertising Age commented, 'Pepsi's Refresh will be a case for marketing textbooks'. Forbes
pointed out that Pepsi received more buzz than any other brand around the Super Bowl,
despite not running any ads during the game.
Internally, the Refresh Project was met with immense enthusiasm. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi
commented, 'I'm a proud mama'.
Refresh grants have helped a kid make a shield that makes school busses greener. And a
guy's biking across the country, building affordable homes. Pepsi has started special-needs
cheer squads, and funded an eco-friendly theater, and helped some kids program robots…
And this is only the beginning. Every day, in more ways, the Pepsi Refresh movement gains
momentum.

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