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Target: At-Home Soft Drink Consumers (2 Liter bottle buyers)/Soft Drinks with Food
Reviewer: Paul Koulogeorge
Reviewer Profile: Paul is Vice President of Marketing for EB Games, former Director of Marketing at Coca-Cola and former marketing strategist with Kraft. Click Here for more info on Paul.
Set at the deli poultry counter, two rotisserie chickens leap up to fight each other in the ritualistic moves of Japanese sumo wrestlers. The sur-realisic Sumo is rendered with high-end animation. After a tough fight scene the winning bird is the one selected by a surprised deli customer. The spot ends with a shot of the deli board saying “Pepsi, Food, Good.”
On the surface this looks like a very fun, highly animated spot that uses humor to show why even chickens love Pepsi. In reality the spot is very subtle in atacking Coca-Cola and trying to match a key Coke consumer differentiator. HOW? Coca-Cola has always had one advantage over Pepsi: taste-tests and consumer surveys have always shown that Coca-Cola tastes better with food than Pepsi. While the famous Pepsi challenge showed that consumers will initially pick the sweeter taste of Pepsi, when the same people have to sit down for a meal (where the vast majority of soft drinks are consumed), they prefer the less sweet taste of Coca-Cola. That is why 75% of the restaurants in America serve Coca-Cola not Pepsi-Cola. McDonalds,
Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway, etc… all serve Coca-Cola. So Pepsi-Cola has a problem positioning their product with food. Historically Pepsi has relied on three avenues to compete with Coca-Cola in advertising. The Taste test, celebrity endorsement and humor. Pepsi knows that the taste test is largely played out and picking appropriate celebrities is tough since Britney Spears or Cindy Crawford aren’t associated with eating or fine meals (and so few of these people actually drink soft drinks). As a result, Pepsi goes for humor in this spot, which is a good choice. The ad is memorable and funny. The chickens are spot on and the execution has such a unique feeling that it seems destined to become an iconic commercial.
If the ad is memorable and funny, what could be wrong? The biggest problem is making the connection strong enough between Pepsi and “food.” At the end of the spot we see a deli food board that says “Pepsi Food Good” and the last image is of the rotisserie chicken hugging a 2 liter of Pepsi. A chicken hugging a 2 liter bottle doesn’t really come across as a ringing endorsement (you definitely don’t identify with the chicken in this case) and you can’t tell if it is the winning chicken or the losing chicken? Also, what does “PEPSI, FOOD, GOOD” mean? It isn’t a sentence and “good” isn’t really much of an endorsement. Why not Great or Better? Or why not go after the gold standard of a beverage with
Branding Bottom Line:
Inspired creative without a brilliant strategy is still worth a few stars.