Pepsi Ad Campaign: Obama Will 'Refresh Our Nation'
January 14, 2009 - 7:51 PMPepsi is running a new advertising campaign that keys into the upcoming inauguration – one that features a re-designed corporate logo that mimics the distinctive Obama "O" campaign logo, and refers to the president-elect as "the man who is about to refresh our nation."
PepsiCo’s Web site -- RefreshEverything.com -- features an application allowing anyone to send a video message to the president-elect. The feature’s explanation reads, “Help us refresh America.”
“What you put in between [start and end] is up to you,” the explanation continues. “You can sing, dance, tell a joke—whatever reflects your hope and optimism for the future. Have fun with it. When your video is ready, upload it here. The best and most popular videos will be featured on this site.”
The corporate giant is running ads in multiple cities and locations, including in New York City’s Times Square and in Washington, D.C., on Metro buses and subway stations.The ads feature single words or phrases such as “Optimism,” “Yes You Can,” “Together,” and “One for All.” The re-designed Pepsi logo replaces the “O’s” in the words on the ads, shares similarities to Obama’s presidential campaign logo.
Pepsi reportedly will also be distributing samples of its product on the streets of D.C. the weekend before the inauguration, as well as scarves, hats, and buttons that say “Hope” and “Change” – key Obama buzzwords from the campaign. Pepsi-Cola North American Beverages spokeswoman Nicole Bradley told CNSNews.com that the campaign was officially launched on New Year's Eve.
“The start of the new year marks a fresh start, a 'refresh' for many people,” Bradley said. “We felt it was the ideal time to launch our ‘Refresh Everything’ campaign.”
But she admitted the inauguration does fit in with the company’s plans.
“The inauguration is a unique moment in time when people of all ages and backgrounds are rallying around a common sense of purpose,”
“They are embracing change and hope. We believe the positive messages of our "Refresh Everything" campaign fit perfectly with the bipartisan spirit of optimism of this event.
Robert Knight, author and media analyst, said Pepsi’s advertising may just be trying to capitalize on the “honeymoon” that Obama is currently enjoying.
“I think, given the effectiveness of Obama’s message, Pepsi is merely getting aboard the bandwagon and trying to capitalize on the good feeling -- that a new era of optimism has arrived,” Knight told CNSNews.com.
“I don’t know that Pepsi is particularly interested in currying favor with the Obama administration, as much as it is conveying the notion that they’re on a winning team,” he added.
But Knight noted that Pepsi products are currently being boycotted by the conservative American Family Association because of the company’s donation of millions of dollars to homosexual pressure groups. Given the company’s stance, PepsiCo may be willing to flout those who didn’t vote for Obama, he added.
“If Pepsi is willing to buck a consumer boycott with a known base of millions of people, they’re probably willing to risk a backlash from Republicans who may decide to drink Coke instead,” he said. “But that would show a corporate arrogance that may come back to haunt them,” Knight added.
If history is any indication, Knight said, Pepsi may eventually join the ranks of companies that have reassessed their positions and adopted a neutral stance on controversial cultural issues, rather than face pressure from pro-family conservatives.