Monday, June 8, 2009

An Open Letter to the Pepsi Corporation

Dear PepsiCo,

I am an avid drinker of sugary carbonated beverages. Recently, I noticed with great pleasure that you have been selling both Pepsi Cola and Mountain Dew with "real" sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, and with the original logos on the cans. These drinks have become progressively more difficult to find lately, so I think it's a reasonable guess that you were doing a market test to see how well it did before making the decision to permanently sell it or not. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some "regular person on the street" information with you, saving you a lot of time and effort.

Selling your drinks with real sugar and the old logos is a good move, no two ways about it. You should keep doing this, and as long as the Coca Cola Corporation doesn't make a similar move, you will have cornered the market on this, especially if you are able to continue to undercut their prices (your drinks are cheaper at the local gas station than Coke's). In fact, you could probably sell them for even more.

With Pepsi Cola, it's not a very big deal - the Pepsi can design, in its most recent incarnation, looks fairly hip & cool (mainly because it's not too busy), and Pepsi still tastes good. However, you really need to take another look at Mountain Dew. Nobody thinks that "Mtn Dew" looks cool with those stupid spiky peaks on the can. It's dumb and you know it, and everybody else knows it, and nobody cares because - this is important, so pay attention - nobody gives a shit what's on your cans. Not one single person. As long as I can tell what's inside it by looking at it, nothing else matters in the least. Every person in every focus group who ever told you that the latest can design is an improvement in any way at all is a sycophantic twit who was just telling you what you already wanted to hear: they were stroking your metaphorical cocks like cheap hookers, and that's all. You know what a logo update means to normal people? It means that you artificially increased the production cost of your product by paying some asshole easy money to do something which nobody wanted you to do in the first place. You can fire every single graphic designer who has ever worked on a Mountain Dew logo since 1990, and make sure someone slaps the guy who decided to abbreviate it to "Mtn Dew" on the way out. That guy is a real shit.

I drink Mountain Dew because it is sugary and heavily caffeinated, not because it looks cool. It doesn't look cool, and it can't, because you can't make a drink look cool when it tells everyone in eyesight that I was up late doing something silly the night before. Kids who have had Mountain Dew will continue to demand it from their parents, no matter what it looks like. Parents who don't let their kids drink Mountain Dew will continue to withhold it, no matter what it looks like. Adults who drink Mountain Dew will continue to drink it, no matter what it looks like. And adults who do not drink Mountain Dew will not start because of a logo change, no matter what it looks like. Nobody will ever care what Mountain Dew looks like, with the possible exception of your advertising executives, period. The appearance of your cans in no way affects your sales. I promise.

Going with the older logo, you at least acknowledge that all these misguided attempts to look "extreme" or "edgy" are foolish and unnecessary. You know those jocko-homo assholes in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle? They were assholes, and everybody thinks so. Nobody wants to be those people, but you continue to act like you're selling Mountain Dew to those people. This is stupid and a waste of your money. Everybody knows what Mountain Dew is, so you don't need to advertise it. You could save a shit-ton of money by simply going with the old logo, ceasing all advertising campaigns, and just keeping it on store shelves. You already have all the market penetration you will ever get, and nothing is going to affect this as long as Mountain Dew is for sale.

One last note: someone really needs to tell you that a "throwback" is a term to describe a fish that you "throw back" after catching it, because it's not worth keeping. When describing something old, calling it a "throwback" means that the thing being described is antiquated and obsolete, a useless relic of a bygone era. This is not something you want to associate with your product, believe me. But ultimately, it doesn't matter what you put on the can, as I've said before: people will buy it anyway. It well and truly does not matter.

Please continue to sell Mountain Dew with real sugar, because it actually tastes like citrus that way, instead of being bogged down by the cloying taste of high fructose corn syrup. And please continue to sell it with the old logo, because the more you change it, the more ridiculous it gets (I mean that literally: it is worthy of ridicule). Just take the word "throwback" off the can, and you've got everything you need: the name, and shit else. As for Pepsi Cola, I prefer it with real sugar, but it still tastes OK with high fructose corn syrup. I'd like to be able to keep buying it with real sugar, though, and I'll tell you something more - I promise that as long as you make your drinks with real sugar, until or unless Coca Cola does the same, I will never buy a Coke product again, because you'll really have something that they don't.

Thank you for your consideration.
- D


Zach L said...

I agree completely. Mountain Dew Throwback is just an incredibly smooth, tasty beverage. I love it.

Sadly, both of these items are seasonal promotial items which were slated to last for a scant 8 weeks (see here).

If only they made this a staple of the brand! oh, what a frabjous day that would be.

Zach L said...

Also, the first thing I said when I heard about it was "Throwback? so it's... older, and crappier?" I mean, I can come up with a better word after two seconds of thought.


There. It's got fresh right in the fucking name! It is unbeatable.

(or, shit, how about Reload, or -- if it doesn't upset Coke too much -- Classic, or Flashback (amusing 70s acid joke? hells yes!), or Awesome. Just skip it, cut to the case, call it Pepsi Awesome. Why not.)

Dale said...

I know I'm a bit late in the game on this one but if you go to almost any foreign market (Mexican, Mediterranean) you can find the old Coke/Pepsi made with sugar and not corn syrup. It's only in America (and perhaps some places in Europe?) that have the crap with the corn syrup. I agree that they need to go back to the regular sugar stuff. It tastes better and it is (slightly) better for you, but it doesn't last as long on the shelf (interesting fact: high fructose corn syrup is a preservative as well as a sweetener, thats why its been embraced by the food industry).

D said...

...I didn't know that! Thanks for the tip, Dale. Looks like I'm going to be providing patronage to some local grocers in the near future.

Zach, your "Refresh" idea is pretty cool. I could definitely go for such a product name.