‘Aha!’ created a new idiom. Pepsi further built empathy and stature by signing on a host of youth icons of the time – Aamir Khan and Akshay to name a few. It is, however, Shah Rukh Khan, arguably one of India’s biggest cine stars, who continues to endorse Pepsi to date and epitomises the brand’s connect with movies, music and Bollywood.
On ground this was complemented with truly pervasive distribution muscle.
The 50th year of Indian independence was an opportune period for Pepsi to celebrate the spirit
of youth. ‘Freedom to be’ was Pepsi’s salute.
1998 was the year of the ‘GenerationNext’. With its finger constantly on the pulse of the nation, Pepsi revisited its raison d’être – the consumer. The brand was given a new vision – in tune with the consumer experiences and their attitude to life – ‘Yeh dil maange more’ was
the new brand expression.
The Cola franchise also includes Diet Pepsi, the first diet cola to be launched in India. Catering to emerging needs of the calorie and figure conscious, Diet Pepsi is the image variant in the portfolio.
Cola is not the only product PepsiCo brought to India. The PepsiCo brand stable includes Mirinda, 7UP, Slice, Aquafina and Tropicana forming a part of the wide spectrum of beverages offered. Mountain Dew, introduced in 2003 has succeeded in creating an entirely new category.
Movement in consumer trends in food and beverages towards a combination of better quality and ‘better for you’ products led Pepsi to launch the world’s number one juice brand – Tropicana in India. Tropicana has become the synonym for 100% natural juice with no preservatives
Pepsi’s launch of America’s number one selling bottled water, Aquafina, fuelled the dull and boring Indian packaged water industry with a distinctive brand position that reflected consumer lifestyle and status. Suddenly people became conscious of the brand of water they were spotted with.
Aquafina’s launch added to the category something that no other brand ever did – flaunt and style.
Pepsi has consistently managed to parley its international innovations into the Indian vanguard. Pepsi Blue introduced in the US as an alternative to a ‘Red Christmas’ was advantageously repositioned in India, basis the blue of the Indian cricket team’s national colours. During the 2003 cricket World Cup, Pepsi changed the colour of regular Pepsi Cola to an electrifying blue as Pepsi’s gesture of support to the Indian team – ‘The Men in Blue’. So successful has this been that Indian cricketers are now commonly referred to as
‘The Men in Blue’.
The bottled soft drink category needs to be driven with continuous excitement. Brand refreshment and renewal are key to keeping the connect with consumers strong. Early on, Pepsi India identified three broad
platforms: cricket, movies and music to give expression to its core value of excitement.
While cricket had always been the most popular sport in India, with new technology coming into cricket from coverage to sports gear to day/night versions of the game, it was set to acquire the status of a religion in the sub-continent. Pepsi picked up the opportunity early on by not only contracting the rights to all Tests and One Day Internationals (ODIs) played in India, but also signing up top performers early such as Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid and creating some very cutting edge and memorable advertising campaigns with them.
Pepsi further pioneered ‘on-ground’, large-scale promotions in India. The association with cricket went beyond just the cricket stadium to the small streets and lanes of India in the form of ‘Pepsi Galli Cricket’, wherein cricket stars visited small neighbourhoods in Indian cities
and played with the locals.
Even a missed opportunity (such as when competition picked up the official pouring rights to the Wills World Cup in India in 1996) was turned into a win with the immensely popular ‘Nothing official about It’ campaign in inimitable Pepsi style. Likewise, Pepsi got a host of international music artists from Michael Jackson to Ricky Martin, from Bryan Adams to Def Leppard and from Deep Purple to Roger Waters, to perform in India.
Other properties such as Pepsi’s ‘Banja stara yaara’, Pepsi Dance Connection, Pepsi Campus Rock and Pepsi Storm – an annual college rock competition – have cemented Pepsi’s vantage position with contemporary music.
Fresh, innovative, invigorating and surprising. That is the Pepsi mantra, which layers on to
the core product values of taste, refreshment and youthful fun.
Youth have a uniquely optimistic, independent and irreverent way of looking at life. The Pepsi ‘Cool’ outlook is about being comfortable as only young people can be – with who they are, to have their own style and to be what they want to be. To give a completely new, edgy and irreverent perspective to all things is what Pepsi stands for. In essence, Pepsi is the youth