About a week ago I asked everyone to vote for our team in the Canadian Pepsi Refresh Project contest. Unfortunately I’ve had to pull us out. A few thoughts for those of you who are interested in a review of the process and tips for those of you who plan to enter later on.
There’s a number of reasons why the contest is faulty, but ultimately it was because we were losing.
This contest is absolute genius on pepsi’s part as they funnel a fraction of their marketing budget into making thousands of people their personal on the ground marketers. There’s nothing I like about pepsi, but a shot at $25k is incredibly appealing for any organization just trying to get off the ground.
The contest is 60 days of cumulative daily votes – which means your supporters have an opportunity to vote every single day, which also means it’s a major drag and becomes a contest of who can spam their supporters the longest.
Getting on the leaderboard early is critical. Everyone gets 10 votes a day and so people will likely spread their votes to the most visible leaders.
The Pespi Refresh FAQ states that the first two days the leaderboard is irrelevant as votes are being accumulated but I found that to not be true. I assumed I could gather my supporters later in the first day (which opened earlier than they stated) but voting impact appeared immediate.
We climbed to 19th place and tapered off from there. If you’re not in the top 10 within the first 4 days, I’d say give it up. It’s too much work to sustain while making up a ton of ground on people who probably want it just as bad.
The applications take forever to be approved. I received notification of mine just days before the contest began. I didn’t have any assurances on my voting page url until the contest began – and wasn’t about to send out a mass-mailing with a bad link.
The biggest problem with the refresheverything contest is the lack of transparency. The leaderboard is refreshed every thirty minutes, but you have no idea how far back you are. A person could be sitting one spot shy of the prize, but have no clue that they are thousands of votes away. This forces many people to scramble for votes when it’s hopeless in reality.
A number of people told me they also had problems voting. The site had a number of glitches and was poorly executed – though I’ve heard there have been a number of improvements.
The rules were unclear whether people could use facebook and email accounts to vote – it seemed like it was okay, but again it goes against the spirit of any voting system if that is in fact the way it works. I believe in the u.s. site there’s an option for texting in votes as well.
Our project was a national one – my tip would be even if you were national, choose a local metro hub like Toronto anyways, because the home page defaults to applications that are ‘near you’ for more exposure.
Voting coalitions are the only way to have a shot at winning. Partner with other applicants and leverage each other’s entire networks. You can create a link that shows all your ‘partners’ and have supporters spread their 10 votes across them all.
Finally, in Canada specifically – the only true way of winning? Have a pet project. Seriously. There must be some massive pet lover network out there as the leaderboard is completely dominated by pet/animal/spay/neuter projects. In the last contest cycle 8 out 9 winners ($190k out of $195k) were pet related! Good causes I’m sure but of all the needs across Canada, I just can’t believe pets would be the greatest of all needs seen by the general public. Are all pepsi drinkers animal advocates? Are people with a passion for neutering dogs extra savvy at social media campaigns? I don’t get it.
Okay, those are my thoughts/tips/vents on the pepsi refresh everything contest.
Moving along now, you can find out next steps our our project here.