Live a Refresh Challenge

Last month I got the chance to get involved with a Pepsi Refresh cause to raise money for a great cause, the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. The prize is $500k–between the $250,000-level funding from Pepsi Refresh and a matching grant from The Pioneer Foundation–just for tweeting and texting. We came in third in a race that changed hands several times on the last day of voting and in which only the top two vote earners win funding. Through the process of supporting this cause I earned an intimate view of the idea, mechanism and vision of Pepsi Refresh. We’re in the running again this month, leading the voting so far. I’ll share some impressions below and invite you to get familiar with the program as the new rules of marketing require every brand to have some form of Social Mission in its brand expression. Pepsi Refresh is the gold-standard expression.

Clear Call To Action

Please get familiar with the Pepsi Refresh project by signing up today now. You can login with your Facebook account or create an account using email. Go ahead. We’ll wait. When you are done voting, please return and post your action and any impressions in the comments below. See instructions below for voting daily as well as sample tweets you can use to promote this to your network.

To get the full impact of this program, go beyond voting to promoting. When you do this you’ll see an emotional connection that happens in the process of helping out a worthy cause. More than the brand impressions enhancing their Share Of Voice in SocialMedia, I believe Pepsico is benefiting from the positive brand transference of this emotional association and connection.

About Pepsi Refresh

Pepsi Refresh got famous as news outlets picked up on Pepsico’s decision to skip a Super Bowl ad for 2010. Media reports implied Pepsi used the marketing dollars to fund the Refresh Everything initiative instead. Moving funds from TV to SocialMedia was unheard of and considered bold, visionary and as with any marketing innovation, was also met with some skepticism. Nine months, 160 funded ideas and nearly $7 million in charitable grants later the evidence is falling on the side of vision over skepticism. Pepsico has announced plans to roll out Refresh Everything globally and support the program in the US for at least another year. In a recap post for this challenge I’ll share more of the mechanics and an interview with Pepsico’s Bonin Bough about the program.

About IRSF:

The International Retts Syndrome Foundation funds research to cure this tragic disease which strikes 15-months to 12 years old girls to various degrees with autistic-spectrum afflictions. As it progresses girls lose speech, motor control and eventually can not live unassisted. The amazing thing about IRSF is that their efforts in funding medical research has actually produced to my knowledge the first –identified marker at the chromosome level which advances this from the “needle in the haystack” research activity to a focused drive to a cure. Breakthroughs for IRSF will also likely open doors more broadly for the treatment of neurological diseases.

On a personal note: Christian McMahan and John Corpus are two friends with daughters the same age as mine. Each as wonderful, both with Retts. We need a cure.

Small acts, Short time, Big deal:
We can make a big difference by getting our networks to vote for the IRSF cause on the Pepsi Refresh Everything program. The prize from Pepsi is $250k and IRSF has secured an additional $250k in matching grant from The Pioneer Foundation. So, you have the ability to raise $500k for this cause just by doing what we do.

There are a lot of worthy and motivated causes gunning for the two top $250k spots. We don’t take any of their resourcefulness or networks for granted. We need help getting people to do two things:

  1. Go to and vote every day for our cause between now and September 30
  2. Text 100842 to Pepsi (73774) on any mobile device; standard text messaging rates apply

We’re confident with your support we can maintain our top spot (see and win the prize.

Here are a couple of potential tweets for you to use in promoting:

  • Join me in finding a CURE for 1000’s of girls w/Rett Syndrome by voting now! & txt 100842 to 73774. pls rt!
  • Vote IRSF @Pepsico Refresh daily to 9/30 we can win $500k w/matching grants! & txt 100842 to 73774. pls rt!
  • Vote to cure Retts @Pepsico Refresh now & daily to 9/30-we may win $500k for a cure! & txt 100842 to 73774. pls rt!

10 responses to “Live a Refresh Challenge

  1. I voted, tweeted and recruited others today. Howbouzyou?

  2. Pepsi made it easy to find causes that are close to my own heart, so I cast my votes today! I’m amazed how this program has continued to stay top of mind for so long, speaks to how so many really do want to work together for the greater good.

  3. Refresh provides a kind of direct democracy for worthy causes, such a logical extension into the social ecosystem. So many good ideas, too. The same personal feel and deep pool of ideas as

    While the overall effort is at least as deep, this seems more relevant, and a lot less “advertising-y” than what Levis are doing in Braddock, PA.

  4. With all the unworthy news stories out there, it’s nice to finally see a worthy one. Causes represented in Pepsi Refresh deserve more recognition and I’m glad that they are finally getting it. I hope people continue to talk about it and do their part to pass the word along.

  5. Hat tip to Len Kendall for his tweet support. And to Bill Green for retweeting Len’s support.

    Shout out to our friends at for asking paid tweeps to take an unpaid moment in tweeting on behalf of the cause. Their generosity offered a social network reach of over 1mm people, most of that coming from Oliver Ali Nejad.

    Many thanks. Please keep voting daily until the end of the month

  6. Voted and posted to my social profiles. Great to see it in first place!

  7. Especially appreciate that you can vote on up to 10 causes per day — with so many great causes out there, it’s hard to settle on just one!

  8. It’s great to see that a big brand like PepsiCO is leverage their massive communication channels to help people and everything within the environment we live in. It’s nice to see that pulling out of the SB commerical gave buzz to this cause and people went to check it out. Additionally it’s great the people can decide on what is the cause that deserves to win and PepsiCO is just facilitating everything by providing a channel (with great virality) and of course the funding.

  9. One more thing I want to add is that if it hadn’t been for Silva I wouldn’t have known about the Pepsi Refresh program. 9-months into the program I haven’t seen any ads on the web, Facebook, newsletter, TV etc. That talk about the program.

    I think it is a great initiative for some great causes but they didn’t invest enough, or as wisely as possible in advertising. In fact I asked around and my friends have little to no clue what Pepsi Refresh is. The tagline “Refresh Everything” is know, but not the meaning behind and that’s whole purpose.

    It may just be me and my social circle, but we have to be very aware in any program that we do what our distribution strategy is. They say the whole is only as strong as its weakest link, then the program is only as strong as it’s distribution/advertising reach and depth.

  10. Such an inspiring program – made me so happy to see so many community driven projects and programs addressing such a broad range of social, economical, and environmental issues!

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