How to implement a corporate social responsibility initiative: with honesty, sincerity, and modesty.
Industry experts are praising Pepsi for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) work surrounding the BP oil spill. As part of the ‘Refresh’ Project, individuals can vote online, starting August 2nd, for ideas to help the Gulf area. Pepsi has committed $1.3 million towards ideas that benefit communities in the affected area (the five-state region of Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama). Applications were accepted between July 12 through the 16th; those with the most votes will be revealed online on September 22nd.
Why the praise? In short, Pepsi’s approach feels honest and sincere – it doesn’t try to hype Pepsi’s role in the cleanup, but rather empowers consumers to play that role – the brand simply pledges financial backing to execute the best ideas. Additionally, it’s not overly sentimental (no images of dead birds, or burning turtles) – just an actionable, empowered attitude to help fix a problem.
Pepsi Refresh continues to be a killer example of Clay Shirky’s notion of ‘cognitive surplus’ – and how even a brand can tap into it to benefit the greater good. Since its January launch, Pepsi’s Refresh Project has donated $1.3m for 32 grants each month.
Speaking of CSR; as an aside for anyone that missed it – actress and activist Alyssa Milano issued a direct challenge to Old Spice (via The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’s social media play) last week to pledge $100,000 to the National Wildlife Federations Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund. The brand has yet to respond to Alyssa’s challenge.