Pepsi Backs Crowdsourcing and Social Media. No Super Bowl Commercial Will Yield Stronger ROI, Says AdHack

January 14, 2010 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Vancouver, BC - Why did Pepsi trade their $20-million Super Bowl commercial for a $20-million social media campaign? Because their Refresh Everything project promises a superior return on investment. Pepsi is banking on the combination of crowdsourcing and social media to extend the life of Pepsi's ad dollars from 30 seconds in one day to a full year of engagement.

AdHack founder James Sherrett says Pepsi is making a smart move by shifting efforts away from Super Bowl commercials. Based on AdHack's own "Super BALL" campaign during last year's Super Bowl and the successes of crowdsourced ads from such companies as Doritos, Sherrett says that "the short window of promotional opportunity with a SuperBowl ad can really be extended by intensifying the volume of conversations throughout the ad production cycle, and by providing opportunities for fan engagement beyond the 30-second spot. That's the market advantage that AdHack provides ad buyers who commission work from our community."

AdHack is a community of 500+ creators who companies and ad agencies can hire to produce creative work for social media — videos for YouTube, graphic design for Facebook, and audio work for podcasts and video, as well as banner ads, ringtones and any print format.

AdHack drew attention to itself last year with its Super Bowl promotion, "Show Us Your Balls." The campaign solicited ad creators to produce a TV commercial for a fictitious beer company. The cliff-hanger ad was promoted during the SuperBowl-commercials hype via YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Viewers were solicited to submit various alternative endings. A panel of judges, including the original creators, then selected a script to produce as the sequel.

View the "Show Us Your Balls" Super Bowl campaign:

* Total Production Cost at Market Value: $40,000

* Total Placement Cost: $0.00. The ads were uploaded free of charge on

* Total Marketing & Promotions Budget: $700 for 2 electronic press releases.

* Active Campaign Promotion: 1 month.

* Campaign Lifetime: Continues to date.

* Total Campaign Views to Date: 63,637 views
* Show Us Your Balls (Part 1): 37,141 views
* Show Us Your Balls (AdHack ending): 18,289 views
* What didn't happen (Crowdsourced ending): 8,207 views

The lesson here is that social media, crowdsourcing and community engagement provide a longer shelf life for ad campaigns. "If you have a plan in place to take the equity (built up from having fans create the ads), and you use that equity to activate further activity and interest within the larger community, then you have a true platform for your brand. Look at Doritos for example," says Sherrett.

For the last two years, Doritos' Crash the Super Bowl commercial has been based on social networking of ad creative; the model is one where fans are open to the brand and the brand is open to fan stewardship. This year, Doritos will have 3 Super Bowl commercials, picking 3 spots from fan-submitted videos.

Last year, Doritos received 2,000 entries and was ranked the #1 most-popular ad by online votes, #1 most popular ad for online views, and the highest-rated in USA Today's ad meter. Apparently, Doritos has receive 4,000 submissions for this year.

With less than one month remaining to Super Bowl XLIV, the 2010 AdBowl may be more memorable for the big brands, including Pepsi, General Motors, and FedEx, that are not planning TV spots.

As AdHack founder James Sherrett says, "Pepsi's $20-million commitment to social media instead of its Super Bowl commercial is a substantial shift in where they put their marketing efforts, and a groundbreaking shift in how they can measure their return on investment. It's a smart move."

The $3-million ad spend plus the $1-million ad production cost for a 30-second Super Bowl advertisement doesn't provide a strong enough return on investment. Whereas with Pepsi's move, online analysis predicts 200 million impressions, more than twice what its Super Bowl buy would yield.

"Pepsi is investing in its community of fans. Instead of one expensive blizzard promotion, Pepsi is setting in motion thousands of snowballs that generate huge momentum and continue long past Super Bowl 2010," says Sherrett. "That's what we saw immediately with our small-scale campaign last year. And that's the market advantage that AdHack provides ad buyers who commission work from our community."

Companies and Ad Agencies interested in crowdsourcing and social media, can contact James Sherrett, AdHack CEO, for more information on how to set up such a campaign through the AdHack community.

* About the Show Us Your Balls campaign *

"Show Us Your Balls" was filmed by Giant Ant Media, a Vancouver-based digital media marketing studio and member of AdHack. Pre-launch buzz was handled by AdHack ad creators, and included character avatars, a full background story for each character and an online avatar creator; Twitter and Facebook promotions; as well as a ringtone and downloadable MP3 of the commercial's background song.

* About AdHack *
AdHack is the Marketplace for Advertising Creative. AdHack matches Ad Buyers and Ad Creators to provide the fast, fair and pain-free creation of digital and print advertisements. With 500+ Ad Creators, AdHack is able to tackle any ad creative project: TV, print, web, outdoor, radio and more.

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