As the NFL playoffs begin, another sports weekend phenomenon is about to begin: the steady ramping up of new commercial spots for beer, snacks, cars, etc. This of course leads up to the ultimate festival of 30 second bliss: the Super Bowl commercial.
In this economy, companies have to think long and hard on the value these spots bring. And one major brand, Pepsi, is saying “no.” Instead of pumping millions into a few broadcast advertisements – the beverage giant is instead opting for a social CRM initiative.
What Pepsi is doing here is important on two levels. One, it shows that even the largest brands are starting to “get it” when it comes to the value that bi-directional engagement strategies bring to a company. It would be easy for Pepsi to look at its giant size as a detriment to getting close with its customer base – instead it is embracing its size and looking for feedback and input, great to see.
Second, Pepsi is not “cheaping out” and using social CRM as a low-cost marketing tool. It is spending as much as it would have on Super Bowl ads (maybe more) on its wide-range social CRM strategy. Yes, social CRM can leverage “free” media and platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but investment is needed to really create a “wow factor” in the campaign. Pepsi is setting a strong example here.
I think we will see more and more examples like this. Of course, the ability to do both – linking major broadcast media spots to interactive social campaigns can be equally if not more effective. But it is great to see social CRM getting its fair shake alongside traditional media spends like sports television advertising.