Today’s Wall Street Journal featured Pepsi-Cola’s new ad, an interview with CEO Indra Nooyi and an article explaining Pepsi’s summer marketing plans and the doubt surrounding Nooyi’s past strategies.
When you read all this, it’s head-scratching time. What’s really going on at Pepsi? What is Nooyi really saying?
You have to wonder. And Pepsi bottlers have probably been doing the most wondering.
Nooyi, who’s been continually called a “strategic visionary” by most media since taking over Pepsi leadership, has based PepsiCo’s strategy on injecting nutrition (fruit juice, oatmeal, Gatorade) into its portfolio. Meanwhile their biggest brand, Pepsi Cola, fell to No. 3.
Probably because Nooyi said she won’t get into the Cola wars, fighting for every inch of shelf space and sales. She wanted a new way to win.
But is it working?
None of PepsiCo’s companies or categories are kicking butt.
None of PepsiCo’s chief marketing officers for U.S. beverages have stayed — WSJ reports more than 15 have left PepsiCo’s beverage group in recent years.
None of the bottlers seem happy with the timing of the new ad campaign, “Summer Time is Pepsi Time.” They wanted it a month ago. It’s the first advertising campaign in three years. It doesn’t really matter if the new campaign or execution is good — marketing support is just needed, period. Is there more beyond this ad execution and X Factor sponsorship deal? For a strategic visionary, these are very old-school tactics.
And throughout the WSJ interview with Nooyi, she calls Pepsi-Cola, “blue-can Pepsi.” She says she drinks it exclusively.
Is “blue-can Pepsi” a marketing term at PepsiCo? Or is she so confused by all her products, that she keeps it straight this way? And if she’s “the only person who drinks blue-can Pepsi on this floor,” what does that mean? Is she the only person on her floor? Is she saying that Pepsi-Cola is for an older generation? I’m perplexed as to how this is going to reinvent the cola business. It’s more like she’s reinventing PepsiCo out of the cola business.
Is she simply using the ad campaign and marketing exercise to show that she’s not embarrassed to be CEO of products that aren’t nutritious? Or is this all reactive marketing and advertising to address complaining bottlers and board members?
I think I’ll go have a Snapple and think about it.