The Pepsi Refresh Project (you know, that campaign that essentially replaced Pepsi's Super Bowl ads) kicked off yesterday -- or tried to -- and it seems there's been a bit of a technical glitch.
Submission forms for the program were set to go live Jan. 13. Consumers, businesses and nonprofits could then submit their ideas for how to have a positive affect on their community. Pepsi has said it plans to pledge at least $20 million in grants to the effort.
But those eager to apply for the grants ran into plenty of problems in the wee hours yesterday morning. Beginning just after midnight consumers began posting to Facebook about problems accessing the forms. When the forms did pop up, an abundance of errors appeared. A number of would-be submitters said their applications were auto populating with other people's information and program ideas, for example.
Pepsi acknowledged the issue yesterday morning on its Facebook page and Twitter account, and said it was working toward a resolution. Yesterday afternoon it closed submissions to deal with the issues, though the rest of refresheverything.com is still live. This morning, an update said the submission portion or the problem is believed to be resolved, but tests are still being run to ensure the site will work properly.
Interpublic Group of Cos. digital agency Huge, which designed the site, declined to comment and referred calls to Pepsi. A Pepsi spokeswoman said the company has already received "hundreds" of good submissions, despite the problems, adding the company expects the site will be fully functioning later today.
"We are working very closely with our partners to resolve the issue and plan to resume the submission process shortly," the spokeswoman said.
So, while the problems will be resolved imminently, the question becomes whether this glitch will have any impact on consumers' views about the program moving forward and whether Pepsi has squandered an early opportunity to create buzz among consumers. Because, let's face it, the company has created buzz around the program, just not the kind it was looking for.
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With contributions from Kunur Patel