PepsiCo doesn’t just sell soda - it’s a multi-billion dollar global conglomerate that includes brands like Tostitos, Quaker Oats, and Aunt Jemima. But in their digital agency review for the Pepsi brand in North America, you can bet that agencies who understand how to sell soda will rise to the top like so many carbonation bubbles.
The question is: Who is drinking soda?
Because there has been a war on soda in the U.S.
In 2012, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg proposed a ban on large-sized sugar-sweetened beverages (although two years of court battles later, the ban was officially deemed beyond the scope of the city’s Board of Health’s authority).
In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama began a crusade to remove soft drinks and junk food from every school in the nation. As part of the same effort, bans were put in place against advertising junk food and soft drinks in school (as recently as 2009, the food industry spent nearly $150 million on marketing in schools, 93% of which promoted drinks).
It’s a trend that has been quickly gaining ground. In a 2015 Gallup poll, 6/10 Americans reported they avoided soda - whether diet or regular. In fact, given a list of 15 edibles, including fat, salt, carbohydrates, red meat, organic foods, fish, poultry and vegetables, there were only three types of food that 50% or more of Americans said they actively tried to avoid: Diet and regular soda, and sugar.
The times, they are a-changin’.
And it might be time for Pepsi to look into other beverage categories, like water.
Going back to basics resonates more with the majority of today’s consumers, but basic doesn’t mean boring. Bottled water, value-added water, ready-to-drink coffee, sports beverages and energy drinks all experienced an uptick in popularity between 2014 and 2015.
See our free Pitch Brief for more details, and to find out which of these beverages is expected to surpass soft drink sales by early 2017.
But that doesn’t mean soft drinks are becoming extinct. If anything, they’re evolving. Soft drink brands are going back to more natural ingredients (ie. going “craft”) and adding healthy ingredients like vitamins and minerals. PepsiCo recently launched two craft soda labels: CALEB’s Kola and STUBBORN Soda, both of which contain natural flavors and cane sugar.
If the future of soda is going Craft - then that’s an entirely different market from the consumer segments that soda brands have targeted in the past.
Which is why we’ve published our most info-packed, in-depth pitch brief yet, which ends with a close look at the new demographic of Natural Soda Consumers.