Posted December 30, 2009 9:29 am by with 6 comments

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In what may be a mini ‘bell weather moment’ in advertising, Pepsi has decided to keep its usual Super Bowl advertising money in its bank account. While they are not exactly saving it they are certainly redirecting it to online opportunities. I say this is a potential ‘bell weather’ moment because it ends a streak of 23 consecutive years where Pepsi has advertised during the event that attracts some of the largest viewing audiences in the history of television.

So what is Pepsi saying with this move? It’s more like a question they are asking the NFL and the advertising world that has made such a big fuss over Super Bowl ads for years: Where’s the value? Not to worry about the NFL though because they are still getting Pepsi-bucks……just not in a big chunk for the big game. Compete tells a little more

Pepsi is already a large sponsor of the NFL, having paid millions back in 2002 to replace Coke for the title of the official soft drink of the NFL. The company also sponsors Rookie of the Week section on

So the big moment is more about the how Pepsi is deciding to spend its money rather than with whom. The NFL is a marketing juggernaut (I had to use that word before the close of 2009) and will remain so. Even the NFL though is going to have to adjust to the dollars that are moving online that once fueled the just as important Super Bowl activity of watching and rating the advertisements. If last year was any indication that ‘pastime’ may be on the decline as well as many companies didn’t even create specific ads for the big game but simply rehashed old ones. Kinda takes the fun out of it, doesn’t it?

So why is Pepsi seeing the online space as the way to go? Compete shows a little data below that may become the new version of the old ‘Pepsi Taste Challenge”.

Even more interesting are the differences in competitive share of visitors to Pepsi and Coke sites between control and exposed consumers. Among the control group, Pepsi captures only 16% of visitors versus a lion’s share of 84% for Coke. However, the numbers are completely reversed among the exposed group.

So what is your thought about the days of the big Super Bowl advertising buys and the excitement around the creativity of the ads? Are the days of Super Bowl ads being a huge deal going the same way as my NY Giants (meaning directly south and in the toilet)?

Your thoughts?