Despite being the title sponsor of this year’s Super Bowl (featuring a performance by Coldplay) PepsiCo is spending 40% of its Super Bowl budget on digital. “Because that’s where the consumers are having conversations,” Frito-Lay CMO Ram Krishnan said in an interview. Doritos will run its 10th and last “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, and Pepsi will advertise on snapchat (sources say). PepsiCo’s strategy displays a larger trend in advertising: budgets shift to digital even for big events like the Super Bowl, since buying a large ad spot without complementary digital assets would be leaving money on the table. “That’s not to say that we’re ignoring the television screen—obviously, we’re spending big dollars on the Super Bowl game day. But that itself is not enough to have a two-way conversation with a consumer,” Krishnan said.

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Large events are also opportunities to drive organic views to YouTube channels, a concept becoming increasingly rare. In a study of 72 YouTube channels owned by Fashion brands, L2 found that organic views as a percentage of total views declined with increased reach. Brands like Alexander Wang and Paul Smith derived close to 100% of their views organically, but their reach was far behind aggressive advertisers like Calvin Klein, Chanel, and Dior.

As digital platforms become pay-to-play (much like traditional platforms), big brands with big budgets gain the advantage. That means social media will no longer be the pool for small players or sideline budgets, but rather one of the essential and even expensive components of an advertising campaign.

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