To the advertising world, the Super Bowl has always been known as…well the Super Bowl for advertisements.  It’s the one time per year that people actually look forward to watching commercials.  The hype has in some way, get much of the public as excited for the commercials as they are for the actual football game.

Each year the day after the Super Bowl, USA Today always has a poll of the best and worst advertisements.  Regardless of how much or how little these ads have on ROI or the companies strategy.  This is how the advertising industry decides who wins and who loses.  So rather than waiting for USA Today, this year I’m selecting my own advertising/marketing winner for the 2010 Super Bowl.

The Real-Time Marketer’s winner for the 2010 Super Bowl is…Pepsi.

Yes, Pepsi.  I can already see the puzzled looks on many of your faces because you probably didn’t remember a Pepsi commercial this year.  Good memory, because Pepsi decided to sit this one out.

In December, Pepsi announced that they were pulling out of Super Bowl sponsorships and advertising for instead…social media campaigns.

Why Pepsi’s Strategy Will Pay Off

Nothing Was Memorable This Year

Was anyone blown away by any commercials this year?  I smiled a few times at talking babies and even chuckled here and there at screaming chickens.  But there was nothing really memorable.  It’s tough to justify the 2.5 – 2.8 million dollar price tag for a commercial that no one will remember two weeks from now.  In fact, they were so unmemorable, if you did a survey about the best Super Bowl commercial this year and included Pepsi on the list…I am willing to bet they would still get a lot of votes, even though they had no participation.

An Active Community Will Always Trump An Event

The future of marketing will be less around a single event, and more about sparking and engaging with a  community, or “movement” as Pepsi spokesman Nicole Bradley calls it.  Pepsi pulled out of this year to put their money into the Pepsi Refresh Project.

When I checked for this post, the Pepsi Refresh Project’s Facebook Page has 496, 690 fans.  While this is peanuts compared to the +95 million people that watch the Super Bowl, Pepsi is creating a community that will grow throughout the year.  These are 500k passionate people who are interested in getting involved in Pepsi’s project.  I’ll take an active, motivated, engaged community any day of the week compared to a 30-second advertisement, no matter how good it is.

Colas Have Loyal Customers

I’m drinking a Diet Mt. Dew as I type this post.  I’m willing to bet that Pepsi drinkers aren’t switching to Coke anytime soon.  And Coke drinkers aren’t bailing on them even with the lame commercials they produced.  Coke and Pepsi fans are passionate about their favorite soft drink.  Super Bowl ads or no Super Bowl ads are not changing people’s tastes.

Pepsi Got A Lot Of Publicity Anyway

Pepsi received a lot of publicity just for pulling out.  The announcement of the company who has spent $142.8 million on the 10 Super Bowl ads from 1999 to 2008, second only to Anheuser-Busch, created a title wave of buzz on its own.  The announcement that much of the budget will be spent online, only makes people that much more curious to see what it is.

The Advertising / PR / Marketing big dog firms will try and take jabs at Pepsi’s decision because they don’t yet understand social media.  To them, Twitter is just a place to tell people you’re sitting on a porch (just watch this Verizon commercial).  The old giants are afraid of the future and not sure how exactly to navigate in social media’s cloudy waters.  For that, they will wait for Pepsi’s results rather than jump in.

The old guards of the marketing / PR world are stale and afraid of what the future holds.  Their fear shackles their creativity and innovation.  Pepsi has decided to take the torch and lead the way.