Food marketing is on my mind these days. It clearly is also on the mind of marketers at Pepsi. What’s wrong with you women. You aren’t buying enough Baked Lays? Pepsi’s research on your feelings about snacking and guilt reveals that you want foods that are healthier. Pepsi’s answer to this problem? New packaging, of course. This ad is probably too small to read but here’s what it says: First woman: “These things are the best invention since the push-up bra.” Second woman: “I wouldn’t go that far.” I wouldn’t either, alas.
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When it comes to food marketing, I know I live on another planet but really, doesn’t the fuss over the packaging of Tropicana go too far? According to the report in the New York Times, consumers are so upset over Pepsi’s new Tropicana carton design that they have forced Pepsi to withdraw it. Pepsi, it seems, underestimated the deep emotional bond its customers had with the original packaging. Deep emotional bond? With orange juice packaging? Readers: I need some help with this one.
As if that weren’t enough, CSPI’s Margo Wootan sends me the latest newsletter from the Council of Better Business Bureaus giving details of voluntary efforts by food companies to improve the nutritional quality of products marketed to kids. Do these seem like significant improvements?
Thanks to everyone who sent me this link to this interesting way to interpret those Obama-like Pepsi ads.
Andrew Martin begins his account of the latest Pepsi quarterly report like this: “Tap water is making a comeback. That’s bad news for PepsiCo’s profits.” Sales are down 10%. Why? People aren’t buying as much soda or bottled water. Score one for the environmental movement.
The Environmental Working Group says the plastic bottles are bad for the environment but that’s not all. Its latest report tests the waters and finds plenty of fertilizer and drug residues in them. Oh great.
Rumors are that the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has formally endorsed Pepsi’s Tropicana fruit juices and Quaker cereals as part of a “partnership for health.” Can Indian consumers distinguish one Pepsi product from another. As I mentioned last year (see posts under “India”), I saw Pepsi products everywhere I went in India, even in the most remote villages, and these were not fruit juices or cereals; they were chips. The IMA denies that it is doing this for money. Maybe so, but rumors suggest otherwise and it is difficult to imagine why else the group would do such a thing. Perhaps it is just a matter of solidarity with Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s India-born CEO.
The Wall Street Journal reports that sales of Coke and Pepsi and other top brands slipped last year by a percentage point or two. They can’t keep up in the face of rising commodity costs, prices, and the popularity of vitamin waters and sports drinks. The drop might seem like a blip but these companies have stockholders to please and are supposed to be growing and increasing their sales every quarter. So it’s no surprise that the WSJ is taking such a hard look at the declining bottom lines. Expect to see even more production of functional drinks, sweetened and not, and at higher prices, of course.
Um. I think this may be a joke but I am indebted to Ellen Fried for sending this item. The British intend to beam a commercial for Doritos (Frito Lay/PepsiCo) into outer space. The story ostensibly quotes Prince Charles: “Hopefully, like humans, they [aliens in space] will think our chips look absolutely delicious and want to try some. If the first word the aliens say when they land in their spaceship is Doritos, we will be delighted. The signal takes years to reach the star but if there are any aliens on the way here already maybe they will pick it up.”
Those of us who live in New York and are in shock over our Governor’s escapades can use some levity today. So let’s thank Prince Charles for that and his other good work on behalf of the environment.