Will e-WOM Be A Substitute of Traditional Advertising? –A Case Study of Pepsi Refresh Project

Internet-dependent segments such as online marketing, e-commerce and social media are currently enjoying a favorable environment, owning to the increasing high internet penetration worldwide. Accordingly, brands are now are redefining their traditional marketing mix to incorporate social media as one of the key aspects (Armelini & Villanueva, 2011). With a huge number of users, social media not only allows brands to communicate directly with consumers, but also enables consumers to converse with one another (Burkhalter, Wood & Tryce, 2014). Consumers are taking the driver’s seats and can freely share their opinions of brands on social media, which is known as interpersonal communication, or word of mouth (WOM) (Burkhalter, Wood & Tryce, 2014). We call those WOM occurrences online “e-WOM”, specifically, e-WOM is defined as “any positive or negative statement made by potential, actual or former customers about a product or company, which is made available to a multitude of people and institutions via the internet” (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2004, p.39; King, Racherla & Bush, 2014). Extremely challenging as it is, quite a few of brands still evolve in this digital age and strategically utilize e-WOM for their benefits. 

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