There’s a lot of talk on the web about Pepsi Refresh, saying that social media is failing, or at least that it’s not the marketing panacea that some had suggested.
Certainly Pepsi spent a lot of money and this has not led to more short-term sales. But if Pepsi Refresh was a “failure”, it is interesting to me that Coca cola is increasing its focus and spend on social media and measuring expressions not just impressions.
My thoughts are that maybe Pepsi got it wrong because what they did had nothing to do with why people buy their product. Coca-cola remember that buying cola is about frivolity, pop culture, escapism – it’s a low-involvement purchase, a bit of fun in your day; Pepsi tried to turn the discussion to altogether more serious issues, albeit while retaining a colourful façade on their web-site.
So, especially when it comes to social campaigns, social doesn’t change the basics of marketing. It makes it even more important to be interesting or entertaining to get your message spread through earned media, but the message that consumers spread still needs to be effective in driving your business forward, by increasing people’s propensity to actually purchase your products.