Pepsi Returns to Super Bowl With User Generated Ads

crash-superbowlFollowing the decision not to buy ads for its beverage brands during the 2010 Super Bowl, PepsiCo yesterday said it will air a total of six :30 spots during this year’s game, all of which will be created by consumers for a chance to win a total of $5 million in prize money.

Entrants will submit creative for PepsiCo’s Doritos and Pepsi MAX brands via a dedicated site at, from which ten finalists will be selected and announced in January. Consumers will then vote for their favorite ads to determine two winning spots for each brand, with PepsiCo executives selecting a further two. Each of the ten finalists will receive $25,000 in prize money and a trip to Dallas to attend the game in a private luxury suite. The six winners will be awarded a maximum of $5 million, depending on the success of their ads in USA Today’s Ad Meter panel, and a contract to create additional ads for the two brands in 2011.

Commenting on the campaign, Lauren Hobart, CMO sparkling beverages for PepsiCo, said the brand was “excited” to return to the event, adding, “We believe that great ideas can come from anywhere and we’re excited to give Pepsi MAX fans the chance to showcase their creative talents on one of the world’s biggest stages.”

To help inspire entrants, Pepsi held a webcast yesterday with Jeff Goodby and Rob Schwartz, creative directors of ad agencies Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and TBWAChiatDay, respectively. The pair shared tips and thoughts on how to create successful Super Bowl ads, and were joined by actress Betty White, who featured in Snickers’ 2010 Super Bowl spot, to help further stoke potential entrants’ creative fires.

Doritos has run similar Super Bowl campaigns for the past five years, airing a total of four individual user-generated ads in the 2010 game. PepsiCo decided not to purchase ads for any of its beverage brands, however, opting instead to invest in its Refresh Project campaign, which asked consumers to submit grant applications for local community projects and to vote on which projects should receive funding through the site. Last week, the company announced it would extend that campaign into 2011, offering a total of $1.3 million in investment every month. It also intends to expand the project into Europe and Asia.

Though yesterday’s announcement represents a return to more traditional marketing activity for Pepsi MAX, the campaign retains many of the digital and social elements utilized by the Refresh Everything campaign, thanks largely to the user-generated creative and crowd-sourced online selection process.

Speaking with ClickZ last week, PepsiCo Beverages’ head of digital, Shiv Singh, said the company is beginning to think of its digital campaigns as media properties in their own right, suggesting the Refresh Everything site currently attracts more unique users on a monthly basis than sites with which the brand would previously have considered purchasing display advertising.

To date, digital and social media has also played a central part of the Doritos Super Bowl campaigns, with the brand promoting the competitions and showcasing entries via platforms such as Facebook.

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