Pepsi to Skip Super Bowl for Social Media

    December 23, 2009
    Chris Crum

Pepsi will reportedly be skipping its annual Super Bowl commercials, and will instead invest the money it would generally spend on those, in social media marketing. This would make the first time in 23 years that Pepsi will not have Super Bowl ads.

Larry D. Woodard, President and CEO of Manhattan ad agency Vigilante writes in an ABC News piece:

Pepsi represents one of the stalwarts, not just of the Super Bowl advertiser lineup, but of broadcast TV in general. In 2006, spending on brand, Pepsi was at about $150 million. Although brand spending has been decreasing in recent years, Pepsi has continued to spend tens of millions on TV. And the Super Bowl annually has the largest audience of any TV show.

As television viewership has gone down, Internet usage, particularly social media interaction, has increased. The 2009 Super Bowl attracted an impressive 95.4 million viewers (approximately 42.1 percent of U.S. TV homes) and many of those watch the commercials as attentively as the football game. By contrast, in the important 18-34 demographic, a whopping 85 percent use social media (texting, blogging or social networking), and the phenomenal growth of social media has the attention of every major company. This holiday season, Toys "R" Us developed a Facebook page that grew at the astounding rate of between 40,000 and 95,000 fans per day after its late November launch.

Pepsi's Website

As the numbers Woodard mentions would indicate, the Super Bowl is always an advertiser’s dream. It costs big bucks, but there are so many eyeballs on those ads, and some people even watch the event just to see the commercials. Pepsi’s move really says something about how far social media has come in the advertising world in such a short time. The fact that the company is breaking such a long-standing tradition in favor of it says a lot.

Of course social media will play its role in the further viewing of the Super Bowl ads themselves. They will no doubt appear on various video sites, and will be shared by countless people on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.

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