Topics in Emerging Media and Communications

Pepsi and Participation

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Corporations that want to glean information from a crowd have one important job: to get the participants to care.

In this post I discussed the non-profit’s use of corporate sponsorship to draw an audience for social good, but what if it’s the corporation that is trying to attract attention?  Is it effective to use themselves as a brand? Will they be able to gain participant trust? It is widely understood that individuals will act if there is something in it for them, hence the rise of contests and prizes in crowd-sourcing efforts. However, corporations that are successful at attracting participants understand that it is more than giveaways that attract people to their cause, it is tapping into the participant’s passion and sending out an effective challenge for action.

An effective model of corporate crowd-sourcing with regards to this example is the Do Good for the Gulf, a campaign propelled by Pepsi Refresh to fund participant’s ideas for “refreshing” the Gulf Coast states effected by the oil spill.

Anyone could submit a grant proposal, large or small for voting on the Pepsi Refresh site. The grant prize was determined by the scale of the proposal, from $5,000 – $250,000, with a total of 1.3 million in grant money. Pepsi provided guidelines for the proposal and emphasized the need for timely execution of the proposal (one year). The project had a blog attached and was connected to Twitter and Facebook to promote further advertising and interaction.

The Do Good for the Gulf project was successful because the model promoted an ownership value. Participants could visualize their ideas come to life, just by making a submission and Pepsi could use their ideas to promote a feeling of connection to the community and market their product. It was a win-win. The Do Good for the Gulf campaign is one example in the PepsiRefresh social good model. There are currently 384 grants that have been funded, all through crowd-sourcing. Pepsi Corp. is an excellent example of how corporations utilize group participation. They promote their product by presenting corporate-sponsored social good campaigns that shape how individuals feel about their participatory role. Campaigns are so effective not because of product placement alone, but because they are to able to motivate people through community-based activism.


Written by HiuHiMedia

March 3, 2011 at 11:44 pm

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