Pepsi: A bad social media day at the office

joanne

The Pepsi Refresh Project is a good study in social media campaigns. Pepsi has had multiple communication issues and technical difficulties. As a result, the company has received bad press from a wide range of news and information sources–from Tech Crunch to The New York Times.

Tech Crunch headlines Pepsi’s campaign as “Social Media Gone Awry.” The New York Times says, “Pepsi Charity Contest Trips Over Its Own Submission Rules.”

Why, if you’re a company the size of Pepsi, with the best possible resources at your feet, would you fumble like this? Common sense (and several failed/bad social media campaigns) tells us that the last place you want to mess up is among a bunch of social media enthusiasts who, by the way, are also consumers. Extremely vocal consumers.

Besides the communication issues and technical problems, I am suspect of the number of people who post comments saying, “Pepsi is the best soft drink ever” and “I love Pepsi.” This one is good: “I’m drinking Pepsi right now. I love it!”

Anyway, I have personally been involved in the Pepsi Refresh campaign. I have been working with the Boise Public Schools Foundation and a BSU PR student to vie for a grant for Boise public schools. Our idea is called “Refresh Boise Public Schools.” We submitted it on Feb. 1 for voting in March. But we found out yesterday that the submission had not been accepted. Pepsi said we would know one way or the other two weeks after submission. Then it became 3 weeks. Then it became Feb. 28 at 11:59 p.m. We weren’t notified until March 1 at 3 p.m. By that time, it was too late to resubmit our application for the next round of voting! Worse yet, we aren’t able to access our application to make modifications. So, we’ll have to start over. Other people have had similar problems. And, several are complaining about celebrities being able to vie for the grants, etc. Go to the Pepsi Refresh Facebook fan page and you’ll see what I’m talking about/can make your own assessment.

I expect we’ll hear more about this-through every medium imaginable. Time to pay attention, Pepsi, or the bad day you’ve had could turn into a year.


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