SBD/Issue 67/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

PepsiCo Not Advertising Beverages During Super Bowl XLIV

None Of PepsiCo's Drinks Will Be
Advertised During This Year's Super Bowl
PepsiCo's beverages "will sit out Super Bowl XLIV, as the soft-drink and snackfood giant puts its advertising muscle behind a new cause-related marketing program," according to Suzanne Vranica of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The move is an "about-face for Pepsi, which was the biggest advertiser on last year's broadcast of the big game and has long made the [Super Bowl] the centerpiece of its marketing strategy." The company had aired Super Bowl ads for 23 straight years. PepsiCo North America Beverages Senior VP & Chief Consumer Engagement Officer Frank Cooper said the move is "not a condemnation of the Super Bowl." The decision "leaves the field open for archrival Coca-Cola," and a source said that Coca-Cola is "putting the finishing touches on a Super Bowl ad that will feature" characters from Fox' "The Simpsons." Vranica notes Pepsi "isn't the only advertiser taking a break from the Super Bowl," as FedEx also is "opting out of the 2010 game." A FedEx spokesperson said the company was motivated by "cost containment." Meanwhile, Pepsi "will plunge into the crowded field of cause-related marketing in coming weeks with a campaign to kick off 'Pepsi Refresh Project.'" Under the program, Pepsi "will award grant money for community projects proposed and selected by consumers, such as helping high-school students publish books to develop their writing skills." Pepsi said that it "has earmarked $20[M] of its ad dollars for the grants next year." Ads for the campaign will carry the new slogan, "Every Pepsi Refreshes the World" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/17).

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