Pepsi has taken a large wedge of its Super Bowl ad dollars and funnelled it into a project designed to produce something more useful than another goofy commercial starring a chimp.
Here’s how ‘Refresh’ works: people submit ideas online proposing various ‘do-good’ initiatives such as setting up neighbourhood educational programs, and then the public votes on the best ideas. Pepsi then funds the people or groups behind the most popular ideas to the tune of anywhere from $5,000 to $250,000 per project. Every month for the rest of 2010, a new batch of winners will be announced and funded by Pepsi.
It’ll end up costing Pepsi about $20 million to do this – about as much as it would cost to produce and run half a dozen glitzy Super Bowl commercials. But when all’s said and done, that same money will have funded hundreds of projects across the country, potentially helping thousands of people in small and large ways.
And it’s good for Pepsi, too. They’re banking on the idea that the world has changed and people are now expecting more from brands. More than ever, companies now are being judged on what they do, not just what they say.