Innovation That Matters

Pepsi asks crowds which community projects to fund

Nonprofit & Social Cause

When the Super Bowl rolls around in another few weeks, there will be no fabulous ad for Pepsi beverages. Instead, Pepsi—which was the largest advertiser during the event last year—will be focusing its efforts on the Pepsi Refresh Project, a crowdsourced marketing effort to revamp U.S. communities. Pepsi has reportedly set aside USD 20 million to fund a variety of community projects across America. Rather than simply donating to existing charities, however, it will be inviting consumers to suggest and vote on the projects it funds. Pepsi will hold contests every month for 10 months beginning in January. The first will begin Jan. 13, when consumers will have 10 days to submit ideas “that make us think, inspire us and ignite participation,” according to a report on GigaOm. Toolkits for developing an application will reportedly be made available online starting this week. Ideas will be accepted in categories including health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighbourhoods and education. After the 10-day submission period, contributed ideas will be opened up for public voting, and the top projects will win awards of USD 5,000, USD 25,000, USD 50,000 or USD 250,000. Thousands of projects will get funded, likely with additional resources from Pepsi’s retail and other partners, according to an AP report. Similar in many ways to Google’s Project 10 to the 100th contest, the effort is part of Pepsi’s “Refresh Everything” campaign, which launched about a year ago with the tagline, “Every generation refreshes the world.” Frank Cooper, senior VP-chief consumer engagement officer at PepsiCo Americas Beverages, explains in Ad Age: “In 2010, each of our beverage brands has a strategy and marketing platform that will be less about a singular event, less about a moment, more about a movement.‪” Besides increasing involvement with its brand and tapping into the all-powerful global brain, Pepsi’s effort is also sure to please the skeptical masses of Generation G, who increasingly expect—nay, demand—that companies give something back. (Related: Crowdsourcing economic solutions for IrelandContest replaces ad campaign for Nissan launchYouTube contest for eco-minded kidsGrocer lets customers direct its community giving.) Spotted by: Katherine Noyes



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