Pepsi Refresh Analysis

12 December 2016

A Thirst for Change For decades, PepsiCo beverages have had success in capturing much market share of the soft drink industry through fascinating advertising campaigns. Their campaigns revolved around the idea that Pepsi was a drink for the young and young at heart. The advertisements were filled with optimism and aimed to bring people together in some way. At the turn of the twenty-first century, Pepsi was challenged with the fact that people were simply drinking less soda to switch to healthier options.

In response to the issue, Pepsi began to expand its product portfolio by including healthier alternatives to the sugar-filled soft drink. Although it was a good attempt to conform to the more health-conscious world, this new focus hindered the attention that was given to their money-making products. Pepsi knew they had to appeal to their audience as more than just a soft drink brand. The problem was how do to so. They began to follow the sentiments of the country and focus on making a change for the better of society.

First they launched the Refresh Everything campaign, which gave Pepsi a voice and then the Pepsi Refresh Project, which put that voice to action. The project, which aimed to increase brand equity, earned them an award at the International Advertising Awards but failed to increase sales or market share. Even though the project was successful it was not selling product, which in the end was the main goal. The Pepsi Refresh Project took advantage of one of the company’s best strengths, brand awareness.

People knew about Pepsi and were interested in what they were doing to better the society around them. Pepsi saw this new project as an opportunity to establish a point of difference from their biggest competitor, Coca-Cola. They believed that the new socially conscious America was a threat to their industry and had to combat the issue by giving in and helping out. Through social-media and traditional promotion as well as various public relations, Pepsi was able to generate 3. 24 billion media impressions, estimated to be worth $66 million in earned media value, with the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Because much of their promotion was done through social networking, Pepsi added 3 million Facebook fans and 53,000 Twitter followers. They also advertised via commercials on NBC, ABC, Fox, MTV, Spike, and ESPN and had print ads in People and Parade magazines. For public relations, they encouraged celebrities to participate in the program and offered grants to help their cause. Even with all of the success in participation of the program, the numbers that really mattered were not increasing. Pepsi sales dropped 4. 8% while market share also decreased.

Ultimately, Pepsi believed that long-term brand equity was gained but was unsure whether to continue the project. They could not go another year spending the same amount of money on the Pepsi Refresh Project without their sales increasing. In my opinion, Pepsi broadened the way people think about them as a company and for that, the project was a success. I do not think that continuing this project would be beneficial and they should lend their focus to creating a campaign that drives sales now that they have an even stronger brand equity and awareness.

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