January 10, 2013

Pepsi Selling Its Soul

One of the great things about the marketing world is that if things get really bad, if everything is caving in around you, if your whole world is crumbling and you desperately need a laugh, you can always Google "Pepsi marketing" and have yourself a hearty chuckle.

Just spend a few minutes rooting around in their amazing alternate universe and you're sure to find a treasure trove of fun, guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Here at Ad Contrarian Labs, we have been chronicling the wonderfully entertaining, yet seriously preposterous, goings-on at Pepsi for years. And every time we think it can't get any more silly, we are proven wrong.

 As we predicted years ago...
"PepsiCo's soda business is in the midst of an epic, historic collapse."
...said Business Insider a few weeks ago. They went on to report...
"In Q3 2012, volume at its American division declined 3%, driven by a 4% decline in North America. There was a 7% revenue decline to $5.5 billion. In March 2011, Pepsi was humbled as Diet Coke became the nation's No.2 favorite drink behind Coke, and Pepsi slipped to No.3. Diet Pepsi is only the 7th most-drunk soda in the U.S."
Gosh. Whodathunkit?

But don't worry. In an article that appeared recently, they seem to have a whole new vocabulary of knucklehead double-talk (Pepsi leads the league in that category) that is sure to save them. This comes from the Pepsi Global Beverage Group Foresight Director. Yes, they actually have someone with that title. The more dreadful their business gets, the more ridiculously pompous their titles get.

I wonder how the Global Beverage Group Foresight Director gets along with the President-Global Enjoyment and the Global Chief Marketing Officer-Hydration. I'm starting to believe the most creative employee in the company is the HR person who comes up with these breathtaking titles.

As an aside, I think I have a good strategy for bringing Pepsi's beverage business back to life. Fire all the overfed worldwide globalizers and hire an Ad Manager who'll let the agency make some decent fucking ads.

But I digress...

The Global Beverage Group Foresight Director thinks he has the solution to Pepsi's problems. He says...
"There's a growing realisation that ... innovation has to come out of the brand soul."
Apparently, in the ever more ludicrous lexicon of brand babble, brands no longer have "DNA", now they have "soul."

It seems that innovation has not been coming out of Pepsi's "brand soul." It's been coming out of the elevator, or the janitor's closet or something. Now they are searching for the brand's soul and -- pop -- out will come the innovations. Sounds like fun.

I wonder how much some brilliant branding consultant is going to charge them to find the brand's soul? Personally, I wouldn't do it for less than 2 million.

The Foreskin Foresight Director also thinks it's important
"...that people running a brand share a "sense of being" with its buyers"
As a sometime Pepsi buyer, it is very clear to me that the people running the brand and I do not share a sense of being. I'm not even sure I have a sense of being anymore. I think I lost it. Maybe Pepsi can give it back to me. Sometimes at about 3 a.m. I have a sense of peeing. But I don't think that's what they mean.

The Foreplay Foresight Director wants the people who run the brand and me to...  
"... form "one big force" sharing the same goal..."
Gosh, imagine if I shared a goal with a soda brand team. What an awesome life it would be. We'd be "one big force."

The Pepsi brand team and little ol' me. My friend, it's a carbonated dream come true.


Gareth Kemp said...

The trouble with hiring the new,
is they keep repeating the mistakes
of the ages.

Somewhere around 1930,
a short, frumpish and brilliant man, coined the phrase "INHERENT DRAMA" and launched his influence.

While today a fresher-face ponders
"BRAND SOUL" knowing
little to nothing about that short
man, and a larger world, that came once before. I'm sure that Pepsi-ite now believes they've discovered GOLD, and their private ticket to a personal largesse?

This could be part of the problem!

They keep relearning that which has already been learned.

Tony Mariani said...

I wonder if the Pepsi Global Beverage Group Foresight Director insists on starting every day with "cumbaya".

Chris Seiger said...

Pepsi is one of those brands that I stopped buying purely because their ads give me a headache. They should develop a brand partnership with a painkiller.

"Buy a 12 pack and get $1 off a bottle of Excedrin Migraine. Just in case you see one of our ads!"

Knuckleheads indeed.

Rob Hatfield said...

How about a global campaign around my proposed new tagline: Pepsi. You can't prove it doesn't taste better.

Chris Seiger said...

Tertiary question: If brands have souls, that means they can go to Hell, right?

Pepsi. Go to Hell.

Unknown said...

Actually, I like Pepsi – the taste, that is. But its marketing is making me wonder if I'm losing the ability to comprehend the English language. C'mon Pepsi! "Come Alive!"

Anonymous said...

Beginning with their sad rebrand Pepsi has been a slow motion train wreck. You can at least debate the merits of New Coke Pepsi Refresh, umm, not so much.

As always, thanks AC.

Unknown said...

I tend to see it as a problem when your commercials look like they were produced by comedy writers for an SNL skit.

Ben said...

Here I was thinking their goal all along was to just sell more Pepsi.

Never even considered them sharing a sense of being.

Sean Peake said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha...aaaahh... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha


Unknown said...

Who knew beverages had a soul?! With corporate assclown job titles like that no wonder they are a complete train wreck from the inside out. You know things are bad when Diet Coke overtakes you for the #2 beverage spot. Get it together Pepsi!

Chris Syme said...

Maybe their slide to #3 is why they are teaming up with Budweiser for the Super Bowl? Not that's innovation from the brand soul.

SP11 aka. Mr. Pertz said...

This has been the best post on this blog evet!

Foresight Director? Really?

Trying to find as many ways as possible NOT to succeed is also an innovative approach, innit?