The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Racist/Misogynic Ad, And "Corporations Are People My Friend."




Yet another example of the pure fallacy of the mantra, "Corporations are people, my friend." 

The number two soft drink and food products producer worldwide was forced to retract an advertisement released this week via its Mountain Dew sub-unit. The advertisement was historically and overtly racist. I am certain the ad will be studied for centuries as a prime example of corporate callousness and sensitivity coupled with a singular focus on revenue.

Here’s the video
How can a consumer products corporation, so poorly managed its corporate responsibilities related to a segment of its stakeholders? There is no stakeholder that is more important to maintaining a responsible,  productive and viable business concern than attention to the customer. 

According to Addictinginfo's Elizabeth Parker, Pepsico's soft drink target market has a demographic that may have contributed to the racist and classless advertisement.
"And what does this ad say about Mountain Dew’s target audience? Which — according to Business Week — are young black and Latino males, ages 18-24."
The soda's new campaign uses rapper Lil Wayne—known by his nickname 'Weezy'—to help draw more diverse and urban drinkers
The soda's new campaign uses
rapper Lil Wayne—known by his nickname
 'Weezy'—to help draw
 more diverse and urban drinkers
Apparently, Mountain Dew has never broken into the stated demographic.  How does Pepsico attack the market?  They contract with young hip-hop (Rappers) who, unfortunately, have major appeal among today's youth.  Pepsico hires a well known rapper with a persona that makes me wonder about Pepsico's commitment to social responsibility. When a company hires the likes of Lil Wayne to facilitate sales to a target market, that corporation wears a profit only motive collar while using social responsibility as toilet paper for its executives.

How about few images of the "Deweezy" who recently suffered an emergency room overdose form a concocted drink.  We might assume the drink includes a controlled substance.


                                         
Now an example DEWEEZY lyrics... 
"Pop a lot of pain pills/Bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels/Beat that p*ssy up like Emmett Till".
"Lil Wayne takes the liberty of turning the mutilated face of Emmett Till into a weary s*x organ, ridiculing the agony experienced by this young man many years ago."
emmett
Murdered in Mississippi at age fourteen.
   emmett1

If Pepsico will contract Lil Wayne as a spokesperson/pitchman, it is clear the corporation [laces profits will beyond all else. 

Pepsi is by far the preference soft drink brand for millions. The brand is especially a preference brand for younger generations.  A Google search to locate the images and lyrics above generated 40,5000,000 "hits" in seconds. 

Pepsico also has a history in the black community that is almost second to none as I recall brand loyalty and niche marketing activities in target markets. An example of Pepsico's marketing in the black community is clear in the  Circa 1950s advertisement (to the right).   The days of such wholesome and family oriented ads are long gone.  Pepsico should be given accolades for recognizing and leveraging the Black community as a target market well back into the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Pepsi's rich history of marketing in the black community.
Walter Mack served as the president of Pepsi-Cola Company from 1938 until 1951. Mack was far ahead of his time (and his peers) in recognizing the economic power of black consumers. 

It was under his direction that Pepsi kicked off the “cola wars” with a focus on hiring African-American sales executives. He began by hiring Herman Smith in 1940, who was an ad man “from the Negro newspaper field” to help promote Pepsi in African-American communities. By 1948 there were 12 African-American executives selling Pepsi nationwide from corporate headquarters. Remember, this was during the pre-civil-rights era.
Coca-Cola on the other side of the soft drink spectrum virtually ignored the 'black community' as a target market. After Coke and Pepsi fought back and forth in what can only be called cola wars (changes in soda mix formula), Pepsi continued lagging Coke in sales and market-share and need a marketing variable that for that time period was outside-of-the-box.

Elizabeth Hale, "When Jim Crow Drank Coke" New York Times Opinion Page.
Still behind in 1940, Pepsi’s liberal chief executive, Walter S. Mack, tried a new approach: he hired a team of 12 African-American men to create a “negro markets” department. 
By the late 1940s, black sales representatives worked the Southern Black Belt and Northern black urban areas, black fashion models appeared in Pepsi ads in black publications, and special point-of-purchase displays appeared in stores patronized by African-Americans. The company hired Duke Ellington as a spokesman. Some employees even circulated racist public statements by Robert W. Woodruff, Coke’s president. 
The campaign was so successful that many Americans began using a racial epithet to describe Pepsi. By 1950, fearing a backlash by white consumers, Pepsi had killed the program, but the image of Coke and Pepsi as “white” and “black” drinks lingered.
[The Racial Slur Data Base: Pepsi "Empty from the neck up. Stereotypical soft-drink of choice (considered quite insulting)."]


Times for the market diversity pioneer has surely passed into a land of "Milk and Honey" to a landscape of vulgarity, misogyny and shame.

The Business Insider War Room in 2011, published about the continued cola war between Coke and Pepsi. The Insider piece starts to bring to focus a key factor in the recent Pepsi market and advertising flop.
The fierce brand loyalties of Coke vs. Pepsi are a marvel of American marketing. 
Slightly older, Coca-Cola was always the dominant brand. 
Pepsi gained market share in the middle of the century with a series of ad campaigns. In 1975 the first Pepsi Challenge claimed that people preferred Pepsi in a blind taste test. The brand was also marketed as the soda of the new generation, with celebrity spokespeople like Michael Jackson.
Do you remember this famous Pepsi commercial?  The commercial was a far cry from Pepsi's Mountain dew advertisement of this week.

Life has changed exponentially since the Michael Jackson commercial.  Pepsico continues to hold the soft drink market leadership among younger soft drinker consumers. Coca-Cola is by far the leading soft drink producer worldwide. How else can Pepsi fight for revenue and market niches other than propping up its existing brands with strategy to move sales into new markets?  Mountain Dew does not have significant market penetration with market segments that are loyal to Pepsi; and Mountain Dew is falling to product life cycle decline. (See below)   The dynamic unfolds as tragic as tragic a set of dynamic as one can imagine.  

Pepsi executives hired none other than....

Tyler the Creator 
.....the create the sickening and disgustingly racist commercial.

Pepsico pulled the commercial after a tsunami of criticism.    

According to Business Insider's Laura Stampler wrote this morning. 
Although Mountain Dew has apologized and pulled the latest installment in rapper Tyler, The Creator's three-part video series after critics said it was "arguably the most racist commercial in history" and downplayed violence against women, Tyler says the company sang a different tune during pitch meetings. 
On Monday, before the controversial third video made headlines, Rap Radar posted a video in which Tyler, The Creator told editor Elliott Wilson how Mountain Dew approached him, heard his crazy pitch, and "they actually liked it."

And, there lies the problem. These young misogynist and guttural young men are leveraging the popularity of a genre and garnering millions. They earn their millions from young people (predominantly) from all races and people of national origin. I will admit to a bit of disgust when I hear MSNBC host airing Rap music before and during segue to commercial, but I suppose there is a reason for such. The genre is disgusting and no matter the "clean" rapper, their message more often than not is lost in bad company. Numerous arrests, convictions, gun charges drug overdoses and misogyny, all equal "bad company."


When corporations lower themselves to use of popular yes despicable characters, the corporation ultimately suffers.


I know you have read it before and I offer it again. 

A wise woman told me once, "Son, when you wallow in a pig pen with a pig, the pig is happy. The pig has you wallowing in its filthy pen, and now YOU STINK."

Pepsico and Mountain Dew, stink!
____________________________________
Mountain Dew becomes a Product Life Cycle drag on market performance, thus revenue.  


01 - $ Share YOY
 02 - $ Share Per CSD Brand 2011
And there is the recipe for corporate sponsored racism.  How better to facilitate such racism while keeping one's hands clean than via contracting the less respectful with cult followings via hip-hop? 

Revenue, market performance, executive bonuses and jobs led to the Goat Commercial! No, Mitt Romney, corporations are not people. It is a state chartered entity that is a necessary vehicle for economic success in all industrialized and most non-industrialized societies. Let there be no doubt,  however, that people run corporations  and people make both good and bad decisions. The corporation Pepsico did not ok the development of the Goat commercial.  People approved the racist ad and people made the misogynic/racist ad.

Pepsi and Mountain Dew have joined other major corporations in crossing the line of human indecency and corporate disgust.

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