pepsi cover

Pepsi in BrandSpotlight – A Case Study on Marketing Mishaps

If someone on this planet is unknown of Pepsi, then I’ll surely be surprised. It is one of the most popular (not always for good reasons) brands in the non-alcoholic beverage industry, and a major rival of Coke. The two often exceed their limits trying to win the taste buds of their target market by stepping on one another with innovative, clever and competing marketing ideas.

However, in the race to be the no.1 brand and to maintain their 60% market share, often blunders happen. In this e-book, I have brought Pepsi and its failed marketing campaigns in the limelight. These are the ones that create a deficit in brand loyalty and sales.

The presence of Pepsi products is spread across over 190 countries; thus it’s a challenging task to diffuse the brand in different societies and cultures among people with diverse backgrounds. In this case, smart marketing planning and execution is the answer. While the brand is a popular choice, it has been doing some serious goof-ups.

When Pepsi arrived in the Chinese market, their slogan Pepsi Brings you back to Life was translated into Chinese. Nice way to stitch the language gaps but the problem was that the Chinese version meant Pepsi brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave. This was definitely a one of kind blooper.

Let’s see how marketing can build or break you.

The Power of Marketing

It takes years to build reputation, relation and trust and seconds to destroy and break it all. A fusion of three popular sayings holds true for Pepsi. In the determination to rule the beverage industry, the brand has caused irreparable dents to its image. These days, it’s not easy to erase bad marketing memories. For example, a celebrity endorsed campaign went utterly wrong in 1992 and is still remembered for wrong reasons.

Brands spend millions of dollars to create a strong brand image; then it’s up to the marketers. They connect brands with their customers but need to also know how to grab opportunities. The 2009 Super Bowl was a great marketing chance that slipped into the hands of Coke because Pepsi was focused on promoting a (failed) charity project on social media.

Marketing creates memorable experiences; and should constantly protect brand image. All the products offered by the brand are parts that make the whole — they define the brand and play a major role in its personality.

The infamous Pepsi MAX Love Hurts campaign aggravated a critic of black feminist culture, Sistah Toldja. Moreover, writer Ronda Racha Penrice on blew out on the brand, as well as Dr. Boyce Watkins of Black Voices remarked at the advertisement, saying it’s “portraying the black couple to be violent criminals and re-igniting the stereotype of the black woman beating her man for wanting the white girl, this ad gives black America a whole lot to talk about.”

Want to know about more marketing mishaps by Pepsi? Download the e-book.

Pepsi In BrandSpotlight

Mehreen is a social media buff and design blogger, who keeps a keen eye on graphic design trends. She has a passion for experimenting with design ideas, and wouldn’t mind if it means going out of her way to find them in Timbuktu. Follow her on twitter for daily inspirations and findings.

Leave a Reply