What makes a soda brand appealing? Is it only the taste? Logo familiarity? Is design ever a reason you come back for more?
PepsiCo is trying to revitalize their brand after losing market share to Coca-Cola recently (USA Today, 2013). Pepsi just announced new packaging for their 20-ounce soda bottle. The bottle showcases a contoured bottom half, making it easier to hold and a wraparound label that is shorter so that more of the cola is visible. Sounds great, but why do we care?
A spokeswoman for Pepsi explains that the new bottle shape is “part of the company’s ongoing update of marketing and packaging materials for cola” (USA Today, 2013). Sure, creating a buzz around a new bottle silhouette may be effective short-term but it’s not going to make people rush out and purchase it. There are no changes to the actual product, no green initiatives, no throw-back glass bottle — nothing new. Additionally, it will take nearly one to two years for all markets to receive and sell the new bottles.
In this case it seems lots of money is being spent on marketing efforts that may prove to be ineffective. Marketers failed on numerous levels, most obvious: connecting with consumers on an emotional level and not being uniquely inventive or innovative. I think the marketing team fell flat on this one. Unless Pepsi has a surprise for us all, I don’t think this particular change is going to improve sales or regain any loss in market share. When I decided to write about Pepsi, I wasn’t sure which direction I would go. Then I realized this marketing scheme fits well into this week’s module and the discussion of Made to Stick. PepsiCo did not communicate a new idea or make people feel something so that anyone would listen or care. The “stickiness” element that Heath & Heath mention is not looking so sticky for Pepsi or their new bottle design. Would you agree?
Perhaps they could benefit from some “Pepsi Freakout” similar to the simplistic and brilliant marketing campaign developed by Burger King. Personally, I love Diet Coke for it’s taste and familiarity but if Pepsi said tomorrow they were pulling it from shelves, I would probably freakout. It’s a brand that I’m used to, it makes me feel comfortable seeing it on shelves as an option. I think of Cindy Crawford throwing back her hair and guzzling a can of Pepsi. Most of all, it evokes memories of my childhood bestfriend who loved to drink it warm. Pepsi needs to remind people why they care about the brand and reconnect, not form a new bottle.
By Nicole Palacios
USA Today. (2013, March 22) Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/03/21/pepsi-rolls-out-new-bottle-shape/2007449/