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Two Advertising Scenarios, Two Completely Different Outcomes

October 20, 2011

There have been some interesting stories featured this week in The New York Times and Marketing Week, both featuring popular soft drink brands, both presenting two different branding scenarios. Scenario one; Coca-Cola’s new ‘retro’ campaign increases profits and brand equity. Scenario two; PepsiCo and Frito-Lay might be in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission for ‘deceptive digital marketing practices targeted at adolescents.’


Scenario One; Coca-Cola Goes Retro

So far, it’s been a great anniversary year for Coca-Cola. For the brand’s 125 anniversary, they have not only gone retro, but focused more on incorporating music into their over marketing platform.


Let’s start with their music platform, which according to Marketing Week, is targeted towards teenagers through collaboration with artists, record labels and technology companies. In this collaboration, Coca-Cola recently signed a partnership deal with Universal, allowing the brand to feature Universal artists in its marketing campaigns. Recent campaigns in this realm have featured Maroon 5 and One Night Only.


Coca-Cola also launched its retro campaign this year with posters, 3D giant glass bottles that have popped up at busy consumer sites, and that iconic brand advertisement sound tracked with “I’d like to teach the world to sing.”


How has the new marketing campaigns gone over with fans? Apparently very, very well. Brand revenue grew 45% in this third quarter, helping overall profit grow by 8%. This entertainment/retro campaing has been implemented expertly, growing overall brand revenue and brand equity.


Scenario Two; Pepsi’s ‘Deceptive Marketing’

According to The New York Times, a complaint has been filed with the Federal Trade Commission “alleging that PepsiCo and its Frito-Lay subsidiary are engaging in deceptive digital marketing practices targeted at adolescents.”


Digital marketing, a topic that we will dive into at a later time, is, in this case, being used by these brands to target teenagers and gather data and behavioral information in order to “deliver personalized marketing” to kids who are unaware that they are being segmented and targeted with focused advertising. Using online video games, concerts with pop icons, and Halloween-themed websites, PepsiCo and Frito-Lay “has infiltrated the lives of teens by developing covert advertising campaigns centered on things teens love.”


While digital advertising aimed at adolescents is an enormous market, advocacy and watchdog groups are taking high notice of those campaigns that specifically target teens with junk food ads. The FTC is currently in negotiations with food companies, lobbyists, and the Obama administration over adolescent food ad guidelines. We’ll keep our eye on this one for you.