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PepsiPOP.pngPepsi’s Optimism Project (POP) gains the company membership in a club whose members are rare as hen’s teeth – brands looking at their long-term cultural impact. Like Tyson, Dell, Starbucks, Best Buy and a handful of other companies, Pepsi wants to be an optimistic catalyst for positive change in the world.
Lofty goal for a sugary soft drink, a chicken company, a chain of electronics stores or a computer maker? You bet. And that’s why other brands should be paying close attention.

“Americans believe optimism is the engine of progress,” according to a survey from Pepsi’s Optimism Project (POP), an ongoing study tracking the national level of optimism on a quarterly basis, by measuring the national state of optimism via a composite score. It’s part of Pepsi’s Refresh Project, which is giving away a total of $20 million for ideas that can help advance society in six different categories.

In spite of challenging current events, Americans do hold out hope for a better future, with 72% of survey participants still saying they expect the best to happen in uncertain times. Americans also believe that optimism can have a strong impact on moving society forward in a positive direction (92%).

“While people are discouraged by world or economic events, they also believe in themselves to generate ideas to make things better. We think that’s a terrific outlook for the future, and we want to be a part of that,” says aid Jill Beraud, Pepso’s CMO.
Dorito’s – the opposite end of the scale
What I find so interesting about the Pepsi project is that it’s not just another social media play for attention or shock value – like Dorito’s rather unpleasant “Crash the Superbowl” contest that sought consumer-generated ads to run on the Super Bowl.
Tyson, Starbucks and Dell are among the tiny number of companies looking beyond the shiny objects of the moment to an enduring brand message that can still have impact and cause positive change 10 years from now.
How to make the world a better place, how to help people, how to foster change are worthy messages for any brand. Hats off to the companies who try to reach above the mundane, the sensational, the boring, and the bland.