Branding
5 MIN READ

Pepsi's disaster that costed a rebrand

Mariam Rehman
August 27, 2020

On 6th April 2017, Pepsi publicly apologised to the world. 


They apologised to Kendall Jenner for putting her in the eyes of heavy scrutiny. 


Kendal Jenner cried on Keeping Up With The Kardashians - again. 


There’s nothing worse than creating an ‘failed attempt to appropriate social justice movements in service of selling soft drinks’ ad. I mean there were sentences much worse, but this one encapsulated the fury of the Millennial audience, wholefully. I say millenials, as this is the target audience of Pepsi. 


Brand Overview: 


Pepsi has been labeled the more innovative and ‘trendy’ alternative to it’s competitor Coca Cola that generally sticks to its history and traditional stories in adverts.

 

Even after the Daughter of Martin Luther King Jnr tweeted about her disgust with PepsiCo, why did Todd Kaplan (VP of Marketing PepsiCo) celebrate Pepsico’s Brand Equity? Their organic sales grew by 2% in the July Quarter. That’s why. 


Competitor Analysis: 


Coca Cola sits at a $204.87 billion value versus $159 billion for PepsiCo. You might be wondering how do two extremely similar products have such a stark difference in stock exchange value? Was Coca Cola invented much before PepsiCo? Surprisingly, the famous Pepsi drink was created in 1893. Whereas Coca Cola was created in 1892. 


The brand loyalty and reputation consumers have with Coca - Cola across all countries and cultures supersedes Pepsico, immensely. And what does it come down to? Branding. Brand Identity. Brand Loyalty. Brand Reputation. 


Even after the Daughter of Martin Luther King Jnr tweeted about her disgust with PepsiCo, why did Todd Kaplan (VP of Marketing PepsiCo) celebrate Pepsico’s Brand Equity? They grew by 2% in the July Quarter. That’s why. 


Strategies implemented: Brand Loyalty 


PepsiCo understood the mistake. But they jumped on board quickly to counteract this disaster through the hundreds of other campaigns they had around the world focusing on their existing loyal customers. People understand that brands make mistake. But they also need to know that the brand cares about them too. 


  1. Consumer loyalty: Though they felt an incredible backlash online due to their ad, their organic purchases grew exponentially. Campaign: 
  2. Hiring experts: Hiring a multiculturally aware agency. And their ‘multiculturally’ inclusive superbowl ad in 2018. 
  3. Brand reposition: New slogan changed from ‘Love for Now’ to ‘For the Love of It’.


Summary:



Lesson Learnt: Don’t underestimate the power of brand loyalty. Consumers that believe in your mission, your values and product won’t leave just because of one mistake. They understand that brands are not perfect. But, without building strong connections and foundations with your consumers, as Pepsico continuously does, - there is a significant chance that your consumers will turn on you from one mishap. Be real. Care about your people. Because people make brands. And brands are made for the people. 


Want to talk more about strategy? We are always keen on challenging projects. Or, we won’t get too close straight away.


You're on social media? Let's stay connected.

Want to read more blogs?

read more