The Pepsi Ultimate Taste Challenge 2012: Social Enough?

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The Pepsi Ultimate Taste Challenge 2012: Social Enough?

In April 2012, the marketing director of Pepsi Beverages in Canada assessed the year’s launching plans, a version that had been traditionally known as the Pepsi challenge. Now known as Pepsi Ultimate Taste Challenge, the campaign had very aggressive goals. It involved a battle between Pepsi and coca-cola, and Pepsi verses coke battle was always very difficult. The major objective for the summer 2012 campaign was to emphasize on the use of social media and the relationship that existed between Ultimate Taste Challenge and social media. The marketing director’s main market segment target with the social media campaign was the MIllenials. These were a group of customers who were notoriously difficult to market to. The marketing director needed to make a decision, after assessing the proposal he had received, of whether to approve the proposal, or certain changes were necessary in the proposal in order to achieve the market share goals (Khurshid, 89). The objective of the campaign was to explore the impacts of a well established marketing campaign as a vehicle for interactions and engagement in the social media. The other objective of the campaign was to establish the marketing challenges to the Millenials who are likely to resist efforts of marketing. The last objective is to initiate a discussion on the disadvantages and advantages of social media and traditional marketing techniques, and emphasize the significance of integrative approach.

The main competitor for Pepsi has always been Coca-Cola Company, with whom they have had a long battle for the market share, prompting Pepsi to initiate a campaign simply know as “Pepsi Taste Challenge”, to counter the competitive efforts of coca-cola. Pepsi Beverage Company in Canada announced that it would initiate a grassroot campaign to challenge its consumers to have a blind taste on their products and those of coca-cola and then reveal their true preference.  It was revealed that many Canadians preferred the Pepsi taste to that of coke, although they had initially indicated that they were frequent coca-cola buyers. The Pepsi campaign had the target of touring Canada and organizing more that 1000 events during summer and also aim to give a taste test to more than 1.5 million Canadians. The marketing director of Pepsi Beverage Company in Canada said that they would take the Pepsi taste challenge into the market place, each time making it fresh, fun, and exciting( Khurshid, 98). The campaign also included spans mobile, BBDO Toronto, social media, television and online games, and sampling events.

The main aim of the taste test campaign is to show that the consumers prefer its drinks against those of its competitor (coca-cola). The effort was part of the company’s global push, after announcing that it would expand its marketing budget by 500 million US dollars in an effort to promote the brand. The company has also embarked on other promotional global campaigns, with the most recent one being “Live for Now” and other advertisements in the United States featuring Nicki Minaj. This has made Pepsi products very appealing to its target consumers.  The company has noted that the category of carbonated soft drink was globally hypercompetitive, thereby noting that in order to keep the company on its competitive pace, it was important to make sure that businesses were healthy and growing. A strategic review is vital to ensure a boost in the outcomes of marketing spending. According to Khurshid (104), marketing activities has the major target of ensuring high sales of Pepsi products such as Mountain Dew, Gatorade, 7UP, and chip brands. However, a recent report indicated that as much as Pepsi is sold globally, it is still below coke in terms of market share. It has a global market share of 10% against that coke, which is 25%. Coke indicated that it would not respond to Pepsi’s aggressiveness by increasing the market spending. Cola’s stand did not any way stop Pepsi from putting in more strategies to outplay cola because it has recently set aside millions for marketing spending majorly aimed at igniting the wars between it and coca-cola.

The challenge facing Pepsi right now is its ability to put itself ahead of consumers and to give the consumers a new taste for soda.  The consumers have a feeling that the tool they are using (the taste challenge) is an old one since it has been used over the years from 1976. To revive this campaign and become more appealing to the consumers, Pepsi has shipped a truck across Canada, five Samsung devices, and touch screen tables. These have proved to make taste test more technological and shiny. It is observed that in the past, during the taste challenge campaign, Pepsi could hand out buttons and t-shirts, but presently when people do the taste test, the tables can send them emails indicating their results, thereby offering the opportunity to share the results with other friends on Facebook. This new development led to a high demand of people in need of taking the taste test. The competition between Pepsi and coke is like two heavy weights coming head on (Khurshid, 122). The heavy weight bout does happen very differently in the present tim.............


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