August 23, 2012

Letting It Go

All my life I have been brand loyal. And before I knew the science behind it, I had found myself making choices which baffled many, sometimes even myself. When I got deep into it much later into life I realized few things, got more questions than answers and the fascination remained. A couple of months I made a decision which shook the very foundations of my life long belief system and my choices. And while making the decision I realized an absolute irrefutable truth about psychographic segmentation – we all have multiple personalities and rarely does any archetype explain an individual completely.

In the early nineties entire India was swinging to a song called, “Yehi hain right choice Baby” and we flocked to the stores to drink Pepsi while all of us had grown up on Thums Up. It was a difficult transition but we all made it. In a country starved for lifestyle brand, the eighties children lapped up the promise of Pepsi.

It was the brand of the rebel, of changing stereotypes, of a new India yet to find its place. When coke finally came in, the battle was already lost. It did a smart move by acquiring Thums Up but by then it had lost the moral high ground to fight for the minds of Indian youth.

It was My Brand. I respected Coke, admired their ‘Paanch’ campaign but always it was the brand of the others, of older people (who btw loved their old Coke coming back), a brand of the establishment. I continued to order Pepsi when we went out with friends.

But for the last few years Pepsi started losing the plot. It did too many things, stood for too many aspects of youth and you never knew what it was saying. Was it Sports? Was it Music? Was it Youth? I never knew. I still continued with Pepsi graduating from Pepsi to Pepsi Max. But almost always it was a choice forced due to a lifelong loyalty.

Coke in the meanwhile came up with their ‘Open Happiness’ campaign. The first few executions went over the top. I did not know what it meant. But to give them full credit, they stuck on with it and became better. The conviction behind their Masterbrand was phenomenal and slowly I saw myself liking the latest coke ads and while I did not want to let the rebel die within me, I saw him transform into a rebel with a cause.

The other day I went to the supermarket and suddenly I did not want to pick Pepsi anymore. The generational shift had happened. The eighties children had started moving onto their thirties and the new age Pepsi made small sense to them just as Lady Gaga remained incomprehensible. Coke had taken over the family space.

Will Pepsi again speak to me? Will a 20 year old relationship truly die? What will Pepsi’s new found mantra of focusing on Music do for me?

We wait and watch.

1 comment:

Shreya said...

I dont think Pepsi and Coke are hugely different on the product front. I am one those who does not care for Cola. I drink only Diet. And I drink whatever is available. But come to think of it, Diet Coke is my first choice coz I think the phrase Diet Coke sounds better than Diet Pepsi. In fact the name Pepsi sounds silly to me. Also Diet Coke has sleeker looking cans and a better distribution. But yes, I don't like either the latest Coke or Pepsi communication.