Social Media Marketing Is Advertising, And Advertising Is Not All Powerful

Diet Coke has surpassed Pepsi as the No. 2 most popular carbonated soft drink in the U.S.

According to Fortune, the shift has nothing whatsoever to do with Pepsi’s oft-reported investment in social media marketing. The entire category is down thanks to concerns about calories and the rise of bottled water as a viable alternative.

So why is our friend, Bob Hoffman, using Pepsi’s decline to lament the rise of social media marketing? Because that’s his angle.

The Refresh Project accomplished everything a social media program is expected to: 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.

It achieved all the false goals and failed to achieve the only legitimate one.

Hoffman’s post has generated 53 comments wherein the various pluses and minuses of social media are debated. Which is fine, but what’s the point of going on about which advertising format has failed Pepsi? Advertising is merely one of the factors not working for the brand at the moment. It’s not like Pepsi has abstained from running TV spots. The brand runs TV and invests in social media and cause-related marketing, which like TV are meant to create desire for the product. But there are times when advertising isn’t the problem, nor the answer.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Pepsi’s Refresh Project, but I prefer the taste of Coca-Cola. Given a choice I will always choose Coke over Pepsi and no advertising, brand-sponsored content or mind blowing event will move me from that preference.

Previously on AdPulp: Pepsi Is Intent On “A New And Different Way To Market” | Refresh Everything, Including Your Browser | Knorpp Hosts Fireside Chat With Hoffman, Burn, Forrester and Briody

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.