The verdict: PepsiCo’s CFL refresh pays off

PepsiCo's Nathania Dashner shares early results from the brand's partnership with the CFL.

Although PepsiCo knew combining its Refresh community grants program with CFL players during the playoffs was a good play,
it didn’t realize it would score as well as it did.
With the voting closed on the contest and the winner announced during Grey Cup week (Nov. 22 to 28) in Edmonton, Nathania Dashner, marketing manager, PepsiCo Canada, says that the campaign has over-delivered.
The eight players (one per team) involved in the Pepsi Refresh Project-CFL Challenge garnered 360,000 votes in eight weeks in support of local projects in their communities. “We would’ve been really, really happy with 200,000 [votes],” Dashner says.
The secret to their success was the ability of PepsiCo and the CFL to repeatedly engage the audience as players were eliminated and a new round of voting was required. It also made the promotion difficult, Dashner says. “We had the intro, final four, final two, and now we’ll have the celebratory commercial, so logistically it was a very intense program,” she says.
The CFL has delivered record-setting numbers for TSN this fall, and that, combined with the shift to a more interactive promotional strategy at the organization, has meant a much more successful season for everyone.
“Everything they’re doing has become two-way,” Dashner says of the CFL’s new media strategy. “[They’re asking] ‘How do we make the fan a part of the game? How do we make the fan a part of the community? How do we open that line of dialogue so it’s not just us constantly throwing things at them?’”
Seems the new playbook is delivering on that.