MILWAUKEE (AP) - Pepsi will not advertise its drinks in next year's Super Bowl on CBS, ending a 23-year run so the company can focus on a new marketing effort that will appear mostly online.
Pepsi beverages have been advertised in the Super Bowl since 1987. Frito-Lay, a unit of parent company PepsiCo Inc., will still advertise.
The company, which is based in Purchase, N.Y., spent $33 million advertising products like Pepsi, Gatorade, and Cheetos last year during the Super Bowl, according to TNS Media Intelligence, $15 million of it on Pepsi alone. Ad time last year for the NFL championship game cost about $3 million for 30 seconds, on average.
Those prices may have dipped to as low as $2.5 million per 30 seconds this year, according to Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research for TNS Media Intelligence. Final figures won't be known until after the game, which takes place Feb. 7 and airs on CBS. The network said last week it has sold about 90 percent of the game's commercial time.
Package delivery company FedEx also said Thursday it will not advertise again in the Super Bowl due to costs, the same reason the company gave last year for sitting it out.
Pepsi had been a major advertiser during the Super Bowl. According to TNS, the company spent $142.8 million on the 10 Super Bowl ads from 1999 to 2008, second only to Anheuser-Busch, which spent $216 million. The brewer of Bud Light confirmed Thursday it will have 5 minutes worth of advertising in the 2010 Super Bowl.
Pepsi recognizes Super Bowl ads can be effective for marketing, spokeswoman Nicole Bradley said, but the game doesn't work with the company's goals next year.
"In 2010, each of our beverage brands has a strategy and marketing platform that will be less about a singular event and more about a movement," she said.
Notable Super Bowl ads from Pepsi over the years have included celebrities such as Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears and Will.i.am.
The nation's second-biggest soft drink maker is plowing marketing dollars into its "Pepsi Refresh Project" starting next month as its main vehicle for Pepsi. The project will pay at least $20 million for projects people create to "refresh" communities.
A Web site will go live Jan. 13 where people can list their projects, which could range from helping to feed people to teaching children to read. People can vote starting Feb. 1 to determine which projects receive money.
Pepsi estimates the effort will fund thousands of projects and says other businesses will pledge money, too.
The company plans to have events related to its new effort at the Super Bowl.
Pepsi's move leaves the Super Bowl soft-drink field open for Coca-Cola Co., which has been widely reported to be advertising this year, though Coca-Cola declined to comment. The world's biggest soft drink maker was the eighth-highest spender on Super Bowl ads from 1999 to 2008. It spent $30.5 million on two Super Bowls within that decade.
Most advertisers on the Super Bowl do not have as long a history as Pepsi, Swallen said, averaging three to four years in a row before dropping out. They will often cycle back in, though, because it is a rare chance to reach such a wide audience. The 2009 matchup between Arizona and Pittsburgh attracted 95.4 million people.
"It is arguably the one TV programming event of the year where people tune in as much for the commercials as they do for the game that's being played on the field," he said.