July 14, 2010: Pepsi's Refresh Project, which kicked off around Super Bowl XLIV and plans to provide about $20 million this year to support plans and ideas that would help individuals, groups or communities, has now expanded its role with MLB to 15 teams and player ambassadors, more multi-media marketing and the quest of $200,000 to an idea voted the best by fans and consumers.
A new umbrella spot, "Jocks," shows the 15 MLB ambassadors talking about their ideas. The 15 teams. all of which have marketing deals with Pepsi, are competing against each other for a $200,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant. In other previous sports-related efforts, Pepsi also donated money to the ideas that did not win.
Pepsi has also filmed individual spots with each of the 15 players in which they expand upon their respective ideas. In addition to original MLB ambassadors CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays) and Johnny Damon (Detroit Tigers), the expanded roster includes Torii Hunter (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Prince Fielder (Milwaukee Brewers), Justin Upton (Arizona Diamondbacks), Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox) and Jeff Francoeur (New York Mets).
"We will do the viral part for about a month, which will allow us to have fans select the winner," said Jeff Dubiel, who has been vp-sports marketing at Pepsi since November 2008. "After we put that idea into motion we will come back around the World Series and talk to the fans about the idea that was selected and funded and what is being done with it in the community."
Now thru Aug. 17 at 11:59 PM EDT, visitors can cast their votes at www.mlb.com/PepsiRefresh or via text by typing the team's name to 76462 (e.g. R-A-Y-S) for the ideas they believe should receive a grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project.
Pepsi in May launched the MLB-themed leg of its Refresh Project campaign with a national TV spot (from lead agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles) featuring Sabathia, Longoria and Damon discussing humorous possible projects (organic gardening in the bullpen, a senior prom for senior citizens).
Pepsi unveiled Refresh Project with NFL players Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Mark Sanchez (New York Jets) and DeMarcus Ware (Dallas Cowboys). Subsequent sports efforts have include Major League Soccer with ambassadors Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Stuart Holden, all of whom were members of the U.S. National soccer team in the World Cup; and Nascar with drivers Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.
PepsiCo said it received more than 375 million impressions and garnered more than 300,000 votes for the NFL-themed activation. However, how this and subsequent Refresh Project initiatives are impacting PepsiCo's bottom line may not be known until the company's Q2 2010 financial report is released on July 20, and more likely not until PepsiCo's 2010 annual report is released.
"The Pepsi Refresh Project is proud to provide the stage to showcase these inspiring team ideas from across the league," said Dubiel. "MLB fans are some of the most passionate in sports and we expect them to not only get behind their teams, but also see how easy it is to do good and be inspired to make a difference in their own communities."
In "Jocks," the 15 players each get some time to talk about Refresh Project as they direct fans and consumers to the dedicated Web site for voting. "We're tired of people thinking we're just jocks," says Fielder in the new commercial. "That all we're good at is hitting home runs," continues Michael Cuddyer (Minnesota Twins). "Or throwing 85 MPH fastballs," offers Sabathia. "But we are a lot more than that," says Hunter. "We want to show the world that we can think outside the diamond," explains Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates). "Together we can do a lot of good," says Damon.
"With Refresh Project what we have learned from the NFL piece is that we are reaching consumers," said Dubiel. "So our takeaway about the power of sports and the NFL was, Wow! We are certainly hoping to replicate that moving forward."
MLB Pepsi Refresh Project Ambassadors And Ideas
• Justin Upton Arizona Diamondbacks
Fund the "Batter up with Buddies" project and match Arizona's youth with developmental disabilities into friendships with student volunteers. The grant will also connect other schools across Arizona with the Diamondbacks including games at Chase Field and possibly meeting the players.
• Geovany Soto Chicago Cubs
Allow hundreds of kids of all ages across the Humboldt Park neighborhood to participate in baseball.
• Gordon Beckham Chicago White Sox
Supply much needed school supplies to participants of the Inner City Youth Baseball Program. The kids will also be invited to their game against the Orioles in August and given a chance to be in a pre-game parade on the field.
• Grady Sizemore Cleveland Indians
Expand The Cleveland Baseball Federation. The CBF provides 4,200 kids, ages 5-19, Twenty-minute sessions about personal responsibility, money management, and college preparations.
• Johnny Damon Detroit Tigers
Support 'Refresh Recess' and fight childhood obesity by introducing the game of baseball to nearly 20,000 students.
• Billy Butler Kansas City Royals
Restore 37 baseball/softball fields with the grant of $180,000, in small communities in the Midwest region in one year with a $5,000 grant each.
• Torii Hunter Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Graduate 100% of at-risk high school seniors who are four-year college eligible with a clear career path plan by rewarding successful AVID students and their families with tickets to summer and evening Angels games and having Angels players and/or executives on-campus and in-classroom in speak directly to students about the importance of education in reaching career goals.
• Prince Fielder Milwaukee Brewers
Construct Milwaukee's first universally accessible baseball league, for children with physical or mental disabilities, to afford them the opportunity to play baseball.
• Michael Cuddyer Minnesota Twins
Create a specialty softball field for Courage Center's Rolling Twins youth softball wheelchair team, which currently plays in a parking lot, and is in desperate need of a "home field".
• Jeff Francoeur New York Mets
Improve educational outcomes for low-income communities, improve attendance, behavior, course performance and civic involvement through a competition among 20 NYC public schools that encourages students to attend school everyday and to arrive on time.
• C.C. Sabathia New York Yankees
Provide children throughout the New York City public school system with safe, fun and developmentally beneficial play spaces by leveraging private sector resources for the building and refurbishing of school playgrounds.
• Andrew Bailey Oakland As
Build an adapted sports field and community park for differently-abled people.
• Andrew McCutchen Pittsburgh Pirates
Partner with the City of Pittsburgh to plant and cultivate an urban garden that would grow fruits and vegetables. The harvest would then be donated to various local non-profit organizations to feed the hungry.
• Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners
Team up with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence to mentor young male athletes and promote positive messages of honor and respect.
• Evan Longoria Tampa Bay Rays
Work with Moffitt Cancer Center to promote cancer awareness and provide education to kids about making healthy choices.