Posts Tagged ‘Pepsi’
The public relations industry has all sorts of niche specialties and compelling areas of expertise, but for those interested in branding — and packaging in particular — the news that Pepsi is updating its bottle design is a big deal. Packaging geeks are like Star Trek fans; they take what they love very seriously.
And they should. Brands ranging from Heinz to Chanel to POM to Maker’s Mark define themselves at least in part through their packaging. In cases like these, the public can easily identify the brand just by looking at the bottle. Pepsi, of course, wants to be a youthful brand — parlance for a hip and carefree edginess that hopefully sells itself to one’s equally cool peers — and hopes to leverage that image with a new “asymmetrical” bottle.
We recently told you about SodaStream‘s clever ad being pulled for “denigrating” the bottled drinks market — or, as we saw it, being a little too effective at competing with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Now, SodaStream’s newest spot, dubbed “Game Changer” and created specifically for the Super Bowl, has been rejected by CBS for similar reasons.
Because SodaStream is a direct competitor of the Big Soda brands that tend to be omnipresent during the Super Bowl — and because the proposed ad isn’t shy about taking direct aim at those brands — even the company itself isn’t surprised “Game Changer” was rejected.
CMO of SodaStream International Ilan Nacasch said in a release, “We understand that the ‘Game Changer’ ad may be uncomfortable to the Big Soda companies, but we are proud of the ad and the truth that it brings to the American consumer.”
That “truth,” according to CEO Daniel Birnbaum, is that “500 million bottles and cans are manufactured every day in the U.S and less than 50% are recycled, causing untold damage to our environment…Our ad confronts the beverage industry…by showing people that there exists a smarter way to enjoy soft drinks.”
A cool product with a save-the-world angle? No wonder the big brands are a little nervous. The rejected ad will air internationally beginning next week (but you, lucky readers, can watch it now below).
In case you hadn’t heard, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg won his battle with “big soda”, banning extra-large servings of sugar water via a unanimous City Board of Health vote. The ban will take effect in March, but this doesn’t mean the conflict is over–far from it. See, Coca-Cola may admit to making Americans fat, but the world’s biggest brand will continue to fight for its right to sell ridiculously oversized portions to anyone who cares to buy them.
Now comes the next phase–and big soda chose a very interesting PR approach this time by enlisting the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation to argue against the ban on racial terms. During the first courtroom arguments in the class action suit filed against Bloomberg and the city, representatives from these organizations argued that the ban would disproportionately “hurt small and minority-owned businesses while doing little to help health” and placing said businesses at a further disadvantage when compared to their larger rivals. Of course, soda also plays a crucial role in boosting obesity rates within minority communities, but we’ll just forget about that for now.
Here’s the real shocker: these groups don’t just receive lots of donations from Coke, Pepsi and other soft drink brands; they also give them awards for outstanding “corporate leadership”. This isn’t to say that social advocacy groups should be immune to the usual lobbying nonsense, but the completely unsurprising revelation does damage the credibility of this particular PR initiative while simultaneously diluting the larger and far more important mission of these civil rights advocacy groups. It’s very unfortunate.
One thing that does really bother us about this ban: it will exclude 7-Eleven, home of the famous “Big Gulp”. Why? Because, for some reason, the city can’t legally regulate convenience and supermarket chains (which are slowly smothering its classic bodegas). That’s just dumb.
The biggest story in the global branding game over the past few months was the innovative partnership between Pepsi and Beyoncé–a deal that gives an unprecedented degree of creative power to the world’s biggest pop star. Mark Bittman may not think it’s OK for celebrities to sell soda, but that won’t stop Pepsi’s new frontwoman from dominating America’s biggest PR stunt, The Super Bowl.*
One thing you almost certainly won’t hear Beyoncé discussing in 2013: the relationship between soft drinks and obesity. A certain other soda, on the other hand, just announced plans to address the issue directly.
This surprises us as much as anybody, but Pepsico‘s mortal enemy Coca-Cola just took a first step into the public health fray by creating a campaign designed to address America’s obesity epidemic–all in the company’s own best interests, of course.
Spinning the AOR is a marathon, not a sprint:
ASICS America, designer and manufacturer of athletic footwear, apparel and accessories, has selected Allison+Partners as its public relations agency. A+P will promote the company’s product launches, events and sponsorships as well as its cause marketing initiatives and its legacy-inspired Onitsuka Tiger collection of shoes and apparel. (If that left you breathless, wait until the next sentence):
The agency will also implement a national campaign incorporating athletic, business and consumer-focused media relations, awards and road tests, in addition to celebrity and influencer relations tied to numerous sponsorship opportunities including the New York City and Los Angeles Marathons.
Wellies Well, Well:
We recently told you about the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) pulling a clever Soda Stream ad for allegedly “denigrating” the competition (i.e. Coke and Pepsi) even though neither company’s products appeared in the commercial. This over-reaction demonstrates a larger trend in Brittan’s advertising world — the ASA now fields a record number of complaints about ads, and the complaints just keep rolling in.
Did commercials become more offensive all of a sudden? Or is this less an issue of individuals being offended by ads than of organizations using complaints to further their own causes and companies trying to squash competitors by getting their ads pulled? (Hint: it’s the latter.)
With every disaster comes opportunity. Last week Hurricane Sandy brought disaster, tragedy and heartache–along with the opportunity to help others while displaying compassion and courage. When people are in need, most feel that others should do something if capable. This applies not just to human beings and communities but also to brands and companies.
People always remember their times of struggle and grief–especially the people (or corporations) that helped them or exploited them. From a public relations standpoint, Walmart and Pepsi have handled this particular crisis well by donating supplies that range from cleaning supplies, cereal and board games to snacks, breakfast bars and soda. Check out a full list of their donations.
Savvy public relations experts know that implementing a corporate response to disasters requires a deft touch so that efforts are seen as being helpful and sincere rather than opportunistic or exploitative. When the victims of Hurricane Sandy were suddenly and violently rendered without food, comfort or shelter, the fact that they received a Gatorade from Pepsi or disinfectant wipes from Walmart could create a strong bond with both the products and brand.