Pepsi Cola Takes a Pass on Super Bowl

Don’t look for any clever Pepsi Cola ads during next month’s Super Bowl. The carbonated soft drinks side of the Purchase, N.Y., company will take a pass on the big game for the first time in 23 years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

PepsiCo was the biggest advertiser on last year's broadcast, which drew 98.7 million viewers, and the parent company often made ads that debuted during the game the centerpiece of its marketing strategy. Pepsi Cola has featured ads with such celebrities as Britney Spears, Cindy Crawford and Ozzy Osbourne. Other news sources speculated that other PepsiCo units, such as Frito-Lay, might still advertise during the game.

The event is TV's priciest showcase for ads – the paper reported some 30-second spots were selling for nearly $3 million. Another longtime Super Bowl advertiser FedEx also is out, but Coca-Cola remains in as do Anheuser-Busch InBev and Diamond Foods (Pop Secret popcorn). PepsiCo reportedly is earmarking most of its 2010 marketing dollars for cause-related marketing, including $20 million for community project grants.

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