April 04, 2011

Let's Save Pepsi $10 Million

Here at The Ad Contrarian World Headquarters, we are sometimes accused of being too negative. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. Nonetheless, as Marvin Gaye once famously said, "we're all sensitive people."

Consequently, we've decided to do something positive for our friends over at Pepsi. Their Pepsi Refresh project may have turned out to be a pig's breakfast for them, but it's been a source of great material for us. And we'd like to thank them by giving them a gift of 10 million dollars.

So we gathered all the marketing professionals here at TAC World Headquarters together, and said, "We'd like to give our friends at Pepsi a gift. We need a marketing idea that's worth $10 million. Who's got one?"

We decided to call it the Pepsi Replenish project. We worked on it all week (okay, 10 minutes.) And today we are proud to announce the winning idea.

Before we do I'm afraid we're going to have to start with a little math. It's copywriter math -- always a dicey proposition -- but necessary in this case. We figure the Pepsi Refresh project cost Pepsi at least $40 to $50 million last year.

First, there was the $20 million they gave away. Then there were the TV spots and print ads they had to produce; the websites, videos, and other online assets; the printed materials including POS; the sponsorships they paid for; the cost of buying TV, print, radio and online media to support the project; the cost of evaluating the entries; the PR program; the cost of all the people managing the thing (just sending all their chief doubletalk officers to pontificate at every social media whack-a-thon alone must have cost millions.)

So, let's use the more conservative estimate and say they spent $40 million last year on Refresh.

And what did they get for their $40 million? Well, let's see...they lost 5% of their market share...they dropped to third place in their category... hmm...oh, yeah... they got about 3 million Faceboogers to say they "like" Pepsi.

As every social media expert will avow, that's a fabulous success and a brilliant use of marketing dollars. Well, believe it or not, the Pepsi Replenish project has unearthed an even brillianter idea.

Next year, Mr. Pepsi, cancel all the media, take down all the websites, tear up all the marketing materials, fire all the marketing geniuses, and send some interns out onto the street with ten dollar bills.

They can give a $10 bill to anyone who promises to "like" Pepsi. After they've handed out 3 million $10 bills, you will have another 3 million people who "like" you. But this time, it will cost you only $30 million instead of $40 million -- a savings of $10 million!

And the best part is, the 3 million people you give the 10 bucks to won't just say they like you, they really will like you. And, who knows, they might even use the money to buy some Pepsi.

Apropos today's post...

Last time I acknowledged someone for sending something he got in trouble for being mentioned in this heretical blog. Consequently I'm only going to use a first name and thank Chase for sending this cartoon. The cartoon can be found on this site, but I'm not really sure who to attribute it to.

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