Pepsi walked away from spending upwards of $20 million on Super Bowl ads and opted instead to put marketing dollars toward a campaign to uplift local communities. This seems to be the new face for consumer marketing in an era when Facebook and Twitter are making web platforms as powerful as television to generate buzz about consumer products. To read more about this initiative, see the January 30, 2011 NYTimes article by Jennifer Preston.
This blog previously hi-fived Levi's for 'leading the way' in its decision to give their brand's uplift to Braddock, Pennsylvania, with its 'Go Forth' campaign earlier this year. Now Pepsi is doing a similar campaign, relying on social media to record and disseminate the good effects of putting ad dollars toward actual deeds within the American landscape.
hanrahan Meyers architects embrace any gesture that helps to lift up the American landscape!
Today we have Levi's trying to fix Braddock, and Pepsi giving small local grants for new band uniforms, and local playgrounds. What's next? Maybe Microsoft will adopt the US Railroad system and step in where the Federal Government is too tentative to act. A high-speed rail project funded by Microsoft might just keep us from being so partial to Apple.
There's an entre here for a lot of needed infrastructural improvement, and, personnally, I'd buy a product that helped to build a bridge here, or a new community center there. When I look around the United States these days, I don't see great wealth spread around the countryside. What I see are huge estates where wealthy individuals hide out with their cache of gains, while the rest of the country languishes.
Thank goodness for Bill Gates and Warren Buffet challenging the other U.S. billionaires to give back! If a person gets up every single day and performs back-breaking work, do they deserve less than the people who run hedge funds, or the amazing geniuses that our culture has spawned, including Bill Gates and Stephen Jobs? Granted, people like Stephen Jobs and Bill Gates have created ingenius business models that drive jobs around the globe. But why is it - with all of the Republican chatter against Democratic goals to even the playing field a bit, and to maintain the middle class - that no one points to Germany - an incredibly viable country with a socialist system that definately works! What is wrong with crafting an inclusive agenda where everyone has access to education and health care? We don't find that concept alienating and frightening. We find the opposite idea frightening - waking up to a country where half the citizens live out of cardboard boxes, with no jobs, no access to health care, and no hope. (isn't that called 'a banana republic'? Seems to be what every Republican wants.).
If we don't have the billionaires giving back to the country, we won't continue to have an education system to spawn the Bill Gates's or the Stephen Jobs's of tomorrow. The great minds and the great leaders of tomorrow come from the middle class.
Without the philanthropy being suggested by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation or by Pepsi, or by Levi's, we could very well spiral into a banana republic. A country with very very rich and paranoid people hiding in gated communities, with very poor, uneducated, and disenfranchised people living outside the gates, waiting to grab the riches of the people inside, is not the country we want to live in.
We're not cheerleaders for consumer driven social engineering. In a country where the government is basically prohibited by special interests who drive ad marketing campaigns that malign any program that promotes social welfare, however, this has become one of the only avenues available to promote the renewal of our aging 20th century infrastructure.
Maybe this is where the Banks can put their future bonus cash, and we'd all start forgiving Goldman Sachs for generating so much wealth (if they'd be willing to share it).
This a shout out, a simple suggestion, to all corporate brands in the United States, as the American stock market soars: Give Back! Build new schools. And include funding lines for the staff to run the schools.