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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  Catching up with Tomorrow Awards the shortlists // The Pepsi Refresh Project

Catching up with Tomorrow Awards the shortlists // The Pepsi Refresh Project

Posted on September 24, 2010 and read 2,435 times

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rafikcreditpic  Catching up with Tomorrow Awards the shortlists // The Pepsi Refresh ProjectRafik Belmesk
Operations, AKOS

The call for entries deadline for Winter 2011 of the Tomorrow Awards is fast approaching. It has always been our mission at ihaveanidea to not only celebrate incredible, forward-thinking work through the Tomorrow Awards, but to help educate the industry about what goes into creating such work. In that spirit, we have been featuring interviews with the winners and shortlisted entries, to give you all a little taste of what’s needed to stand out at the Tomorrow Awards.

  Catching up with Tomorrow Awards the shortlists // The Pepsi Refresh Project

Beyond celebrating the best and most innovative work our industry has to offer, the Tomorrow Awards set up to let everybody know and understand the how behind every winning and shortlisted campaign.

In this second of a three parts series, we sit down with Rob Schwartz, Chief Creative Officer of TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles to discuss one of his agency’s three shortlisted campaigns: The Pepsi Refresh Project.

For Part One of the series on We’re All Fans, click here.

Pepsi Refresh Project

Tomorrow: When you first brought the “Since Pepsi and Coke are essentially the same product, instead of saying “Hey, our product’s the best” let’s use the “we’re doing good, so it’d be better to give us your money” argument to the table, how did the client react?

Rob: Well there are obviously some differences in the two products, but what they agreed to was that the “carbonated brown beverage” segment is declining. So it’s a crisis for both brands and they needed a fresh way to solve it.

Tomorrow: And how did the idea of spending the money they would’ve spent on a Superbowl spot and giving it back to the community come to life? What’s the germ that brought this idea?

Rob: The germ happened in a creative meeting that we had a year and a half ago with several different teams coming in and trying to come up with platforms for the brand. Not just one off ideas for a stunt or a spot, but a true platform to build upon for the next 24 months.

So one team came in and the opening sentence to their pitch was “The last thing the world needs is another soda pop commercial”. Their idea was what if we could take this icon and shine a light on what pop culture was at this moment in time. It was all about giving back and trying to repair the world in some way while having these conversations in a social space.

So that was the way they started it. We then did some other pieces to take Refresh out of the block, but everybody who’s on the core team remembered that notion. The second step was “what if we could give a penny a can?”. Every time you bought a can of Pepsi a penny would go to do something good in the world and from then it went on and on and on until the whole platform came to life.

Giving away $20M was a big statement. When we did some research on the idea initially, we had these focus groups and we asked people “if a bluechip brand could give some money back to charity, what would be a significant number?”

And almost unanimously people would say “one million dollars”. A million dollars is a big number so we decided to do 20 times what people expect.

It was kind of interesting to find out that some organizations would be overwhelmed by a million dollars. In fact, some organizations would be overwhelmed by a hundred thousand dollars and some people just needed $5000. Which is a significant amount in their world. That’s why we decided to have tiered money layers on Pepsi Refresh.

Tomorrow: And is the money being awarded based simply on votes or were there other criteria? Was there a panel of judges that helped decide where the money went?

Rob: We thought that if Pepsi just came out and said they wanted to do this there might be some cynics. People would say “you guys have no expertise in this and therefore you shouldn’t do it”.

So one of the things that we did early on was partnering with GOOD who became a third party consultant who helped us determine what were the good moves in this very sensitive space. Having them as a partner was invaluable as they guided us through and we didn’t come across as some big brand trying to get popular. We were really trying to do this the right way.

Tomorrow: Speaking of cynics, one thing you hear a lot is that with Pepsi being a company that sells a harmful product, isn’t this the tree that hides the forest?

Rob: I think if you look at it from their standpoint, they’re just trying to do good things. Some of their products aren’t always good for you, but I think that if you look at Pepsico’s total portfolio, they have a lot more healthy choices than unhealthy ones.

If you take Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max, two out of their three biggest products are sugar free. So the blue can choice, which people can say is the one that makes you fat is really just one third of what they offer.

And at the end of the day, it’s a company that lives in a free society. You have the freedom to make the choice on whether you want to take something that’s bad for you. So from a product standpoint, they’re making a step in the right direction by being this very visible brand that’s giving back. They’re stepping up and saying they’ll try to fill the gap between what the government can’t do and what people need. And it takes a lot of guts to do that.




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