Does Pepsi Need A Polar Bear?

Coke Polar Bear FamilyPepsi is not just a drink. It’s a cool and fun beverage on the go. At least that’s the cheesy, unrealistic feel that Pepsi would like consumers to believe. Everyone is well aware of the rivalry which exists between Coca Cola and Pepsi yet daily consumers barely give notice to the genius marketing strategies. Well that is Coca Cola’s marketing strategies.Pepsi has been lagging behind in recent years. Previously, Pepsi was ranked as the second best soda brand in the country, falling only behind Coke. Now, Pepsi is ranked third behind Diet Coke. What happened? First Pepsi’s own marketing strategies are not keeping up to par with consumer’s tastes. In fact Pepsi primarily focuses on creating a young, cool image of its brand through celebrity sponsorships such as Beyonce and Brittney Spears. The truth is that it is difficult to make a beverage appear “cool.” In fact, most people would not think someone is “cool” just because they are a drinking a glass of pepsi. On the other hand, Coca Cola chooses a much more clever angle. It chooses to create a happy, family-oriented image, appealing to everyone. I almost think of Coca Cola in a Disneyland approach thinking that Coca Cola does in fact adhere to its slogan: “open happiness.” It has that happy, nostalgic feel that Pepsi does not appear to capture.

Yet, Coca Cola captures this feel most notably through its polar bear advertisements. The polar bear once again reinforces the idea of family. Ever notice why a father polar bear is surrounded by its cubs while drinking a Coca Cola? The polar bears wearing red scarves not only tie in with Coca Cola’s colors white and red but give consumers almost a magical, cute representation of what is Coca Cola the brand. Most people today instantly recognize the polar bear and its tie with Coca Cola. However, Pepsi is much more subtle. Pepsi tried for years to use Pepsiman. Pepsiman? Who is that? Precisely. Pepsiman is a super hero featuring Pepsi’s logo on its attire. Although , barely anyone really remembers or knows of his existence.

Pepsi needs a competitive edge. In my opinion, Pepsi needs a competing artic mascot. The idea of perhaps a penguin comes to mind. If Pepsi needs to fulfill the idea of fun and cool, the penguin could wear sunglasses. The reason is that cute and relatable goes much farther than hipster and cool. However, the Pepsi can still be cool in a cute way. The penguin could wear sunglasses in the middle of the artic, holding a small little umbrella for shelter from the sun beating down on it.  Thus the penguin would stay cool and fresh, creating the need to drink a can of Pepsi.

Either way, Pepsi needs a new idea shift in its marketing strategies or Coca Cola will continue up the ladder. Clearly, Pepsi reinforces the idea of cool to appeal to the younger crowd, hoping to create life-long brand loyalty. However, Pepsi must look for other ideas because sponsors like flava flav are simply not cutting it.

-Ivana Orozco

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