Undoubtedly the biggest night in advertising, the Super Bowl attracts all the big players – from Anheuser-Busch InBev to GE – and for the past nine years, Pepsi has been one of the biggest. Until now. This week, the beverage giant announced it will not be advertising in the 2010 Super Bowl. Instead, Pepsi will be investing $20 million into its new cause marketing program.
What a difference a year makes. Last February, we gave kudos to several companies that spent top-dollar to communicate their social and environmental commitments during the Super Bowl. As the 2010 Super Bowl approaches, we are blown away by one company’s decision not to. Pepsi is forgoing millions of guaranteed consumer eyes and ears for higher-touch social media tactics that will be incorporated into its cause program in the coming year. This decision speaks volumes about both the changing role of media and the growth of cause marketing as a central part of brand strategy.
So, as we head into 2010 with hopes of an economic recovery in our sights, there is really no denying that cause has reached new heights. We stand at an exciting moment in time for cause – at the onset of a new year that will bring new opportunity. And with such bold moves from big brands, it appears we’re off to a good start.