Pepsi’s Partisan Marketing

When I saw this yesterday I was a little flabbergasted, it’s almost shameful that Pepsi would pander in this manner but it’s also really risky.

When you insert politics into business and take a side, you end up alienating half of your potential market. This is self-evident and Pepsi may have calculated that given the blue state reach of their business that this is a calculated risk but they would be wise to look at what happened to Oprah and her ratings over the last year.

The show has been drifting back to Earth, losing 7 percent of its audience nationwide this year alone. O Magazine saw a double-digit decline in circulation. Authors can no longer count on the “Oprah effect.” And her endorsement of Barack Obama may have turned off, literally, viewers who supported Hillary Clinton.

Given the fragile state of the economy I would speculate that Pepsi doesn’t need to be doing anything that really only has the potential to hurt them. As a shareholder I would prefer that they stick to making sugary drinks and salty snacks. Pepsi is a well run company, there is no need to stumble now with a speculate brand marketing initiative.

On a related note, I couldn’t help but notice that Pepsi is not taking a similarly progressive attitude toward the NY state tax on soda.

At any rate this is unlikely to affect my purchasing decisions one way or the other, I’m a Dr. Pepper drinker myself (Dublin Dr. Pepper, the Texas bottler that refused to convert to high fructose corn syrup).