Monday, 11 March 2013

About 2 months ago I wrote a piece called "Social Media's Massive Failure".

It was about the failure of the Pepsi Refresh Project. Most of you disagreed

with my observations that the Refresh effort was a failure. Recently The New

Yorker published an article called "Snacks for a Fat Planet". It isn't specifically

about the Refresh project.

It is about PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi's attempt to transform the

company from the world's largest maker of soda and crappy food into a

company with respectable standards and values. It is actually a very interesting

article and Nooyi comes off as an intelligent, thoughtful but somewhat jargony

leader.The article talks about Refresh as part of Pepsi's desire

to be perceived as a "good" company ...the strategy was to use social media to

promote the image of PepsiCo... to bring the flagship brand more in line with

PepsiCo's "performance with purpose" agenda...Then it goes on to note that

Pepsi's share had dropped 4.8% since the program was introduced.

... the Refresh campaign garnered more than eighty million votes,

got three and a half million likes on Pepsi's Facebook page, and drew some

sixty thousand Twitter followers. But the campaign didn't sell Pepsi.Which to

my ear sounds an awful lot like this paragraph from Social Media's Massive


"Over 80 million votes were registered; almost 3.5 million

"likes" on the Pepsi Facebook page; almost 60,000 Twitter followers. The only

thing it failed to do was sell Pepsi." The article concludes...

"It appears that hearing about all the good things that PepsiCo is doing to help

make the world a better place does not tempt you to down a

Pepsi". As we know, there are many in the marketing world who

cannot see the limitations of social media, no matter how compelling the

evidence. Consequently, those of us with open minds and functional synapses

need to remain skeptical and vocal about the "magic" of social media.

"Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to

believe." -- Euripides

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