This morning AdAge published an article called “Pepsi Tackles Identity Crisis,” highlighting the journey that PepsiCo took to arrive at its “Live For Now (press release)” global brand positioning. I really think we have more of a Mantra vs. Mission issue here, but that’s not what jumped out immediately.

What struck me is the discrepancy between consumer trends (toward healthier foods) and this particular campaign. Two related thoughts came to mind immediately:

Live with reckless abandon. (Woohoo!)

which quickly deteriorated into

Live, For Now. (Oh no!)

I like the intensity of the “Live For Now” slogan, but it seems to fly in the face of all other PepsiCo messaging. In case you are unaware, PepsiCo is one of the world’s larges food and beverage manufacturers with [U.S.] household brand names such as Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Quaker Oats, Gatorade, and Life cereal under its wing. All of these have been marketed with health and wellness benefits of late.

Brad Jakeman, president global enjoyment and chief creative officer, notes that Pepsi lost its “cool quotient.” He’s probably right—I wouldn’t know any better— and the consumer may not associate a sugary beverage brand with Quaker Oats. But actively promoting a sugar-high is in stark contrast to the entire brand portfolio repositioning that PepsiCo has been orchestrating.

In the end marketing’s challenge is to deliver the balance between what the customer wants vs. needs. That’s why we have jobs [still].

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