Here it is … "Live for Now", Pepsi's road to the future. The cola giant is admitting its mistakes and aims to change the way consumers view the entire cola category- after Pepsi's embarrassing slip to the No. 3 soda, just behind Diet Coke.
The road map for returning Pepsi to pop-culture relevance was spelled it in a two-hour preview to America's AdAge magazine. We don't mind giving them a plug: it's a cool story.
Brad Jakeman, the Aussie president - global enjoyment and chief creative officer - made it clear he wants a world where Pepsi sticks to one message. No more flip-flopping between campaigns: Live for Now is IT.
Blue-can Pepsi slid 0.3% in market share and 4.8% in volume last year. The whole fizzy-soft-drink category has been declining for seven straight years, according to Beverage Digest.
"The category is in decline in this country, but it's growing in a significant number of our markets," Jakeman said. "It's lost the cool quotient. If there's any brand that can inspire the category again, it's Pepsi."
Jakeman explained the difference between Coke and Pepsi: Coke is timeless. Pepsi is timely.
"Brands that are timeless want to have museums," Jakeman said, referring to the World of Coca-Cola attraction (Ouch!). "Pepsi is not a brand that belongs in a museum."
"While we might not be the leading cola, we have always behaved like we were. Our least-impactful marketing has been when we've tried to reinvent this brand. This brand does not need to be reinvented. It needs to be reignited."
The Australian - he drinks a Pepsi or Diet Pepsi in the morning and a Diet Mtn Dew in the afternoon - joined PepsiCo less than a year ago, when the new campaign was being discussed,.
"I thought ... we had codified a very cogent point of view on what the brand was going to stand for," he told AdAge. "But we hadn't." So began the "most exhaustive and rigorous consumer-insights-led process". Pepsi execs travelled the globe talking to consumers, said Simon Lowden, CMO-PepsiCo Americas Beverages and former head of Pepsi International marketing.
For nine months, a core team , including Jakeman and Britisher Lowden, scoured the globe for inspiration, in markets including Argentina, Australia, United Arab Emirates and Russia.
Jakeman and Lowden began discussing Pepsi's positioning, which they believed should drive advertising and design strategy, and in turn fuel innovation and consumer engagement.
"Starbucks and Nike have a clear sense of what they are, who their consumers are and what their role is in consumers' lives," said Jakeman.
"Pepsi has never really had that. As a brand we have moved from one advertising campaign to another to another. Over the the past few years we've had "Every Pepsi Refreshes the World" to "Summer Time is Pepsi Time" to "Where There's Pepsi, There's Music."
John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, said "Brand Pepsi legitimately needs a big, integrated campaign that can run for several years, and PepsiCo has not given it that."
It's clear PepsiCo is doing that now.
The new brand positioning aims to "capture the excitement of now." The campaign carries the tagline, "Live for Now."
The Pepsi logo won't change - but is to build on "brand equities". For example: the idea of red and blue divided by white -- "imagine a guitar or the Statue of Liberty swathed in red, white and blue mimicking Pepsi's logo," said Ad Age. Now that's cool- or corny?
The "Live for Now" campaign broke this week with the first spot, featuring performer Nicki Minaj released on May 7. Pepsi Pulse, a "dashboard of pop culture" ranking tweets, photos and news from the entertainment world, has replaced Pepsi.com.
"The new positioning injects new energy into not only the brand but the people who work on it," said Richard Lee, CMO-PepsiCo China. "Who doesn't want to work on a brand that promises to capture the excitement of now?"