Why Has Pepsi Been So Generous With Grants?

February 14, 2011
By Cassandra C SILVER, Roslyn Heights, New York
Cassandra C SILVER, Roslyn Heights, New York
5 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Every year, Pepsi has competed in the Super Bowl ads, and spent millions of dollars for television spots on last year’s Super Bowl XLV. But for the first time in 23 years, Pepsi has withdrawn from the competition. They have been concentrating on their charity-giving program, which is a monthly online contest for people to submit their ideas and compete to win grants. But why have they decided for the first time in 23 years to give away the money instead of making the money? The answer is that Pepsi wants to use their profits to have consumers share ideas and change the world. They have also betted that if they promote this project, the consumers will win, the producing company will win, and so will the community.

PepsiCo Beverages America started the Pepsi Refresh Project last February. They want to spread this success of generous giving all over the country. They have been giving grants ranging from $5,000-250,000 to charities that they think need the most help. Foundations or schools that need help submit their idea to Pepsi and then community organizers, health interest groups, and religious organizations will pick which group to fund. Those organizers will pick nominees each month and asked supporters to vote as many times as the contest rules would allow. This way, Pepsi wouldn’t be accused of being biased towards any group and there would be a fair pick. So far, Pepsi has donated $50K to Oak Grove Primary School to build a playground; $250K to help youth who suffer from depression or Bipolar Disorder; and $5K to build a habitat for unwanted white faced capuchin monkeys.
But many people have wondered why Pepsi has become generous. In an interview with the New York Times, Shiv Singh, the head of digital for PepsiCo Beverages America said “This was not a corporate philanthropy effort. This was using brand dollars with the belief that when you use these brand dollars to have consumers share ideas to change the world, the consumers will win, the brand will win, and the community will win. That was a big bet. No one has done it on this scale before.”
Recently, there have been many allegations of cheating on the contest. Many contestants felt cheated out of their win because they have worked so hard trying to push their idea and make it known to Pepsi. Some winners may have used a mysterious service to advance themselves into the winning ranks, and complain that Pepsi’s ban on proxy voting and on votes from international locations. The mysterious source has been linked to a man named Mr. Magic, who sends an email to contestants and try to bribe them to move them up the ranks for money. He is a solicitor and people who works for him since his identity is unknown. Pepsi has released a statement to New York Times that they were committed to maintaining the integrity of the contest, and that it deployed a variety of proprietary methods to identify fraudulent votes and remove them from the system.

More about the Pepsi Refresh Project visit: http://www.refresheverything.com/index

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This article has 1 comment.

on Feb. 20 2011 at 2:03 am
Treefiddy BRONZE, Tarzana, California
1 article 0 photos 158 comments

First of all, I neither condemn nor praise the actions of the PepiCo. The ways in which they spend their money is their choice. As a corporation, they inherently have no social responsibility. They have an obligation to their employees and their shareholders. As far as I am concerned, this is a marketing effort done by PepsiCo in whatever way they feel will best strenghten their brand. They are doing what is in their interest, according to them. My problem is that I realize people think that coporations have social responsiblity. They do not. People, as individuals, have responsibility and certain obligations. The corporation is amoral.

To those who feel that corporations have a duty to society, other than the good or service they provide to their customers, by what standard do you assign the role of philanthropist to the corporation?


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