Jan 30, 2006

Cafe Chino : Pepsi's bad Idea

(Cross posted from Desicritics)

Why oh why?

Why did Pepsi India go ahead and launch a Pepsi Café Chino flavor? Have they forgotten the mess that Vanilla Coke was?

I mean the thing tastes like normal Pepsi when you gulp it down first, but then the pathetic taste of cinnamon-vanilla-insecticide (oops!) hits you and you curse yourself for spending twenty hard earned rupees on the damn thing.

The really bad ad

Of course, they must have spent crores and crores on it, getting Bollywood bimbettes Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra in one ad to launch it. But the ad gets ruined because they are shown slobbering and kissing one hunky John Abraham wannabe, who unfortunately was last shown in an ad for dental decay. So while Kareena and Priyanka leave lipstick marks all over him the only thing I can think about is: "Will the guy smile and show his yellow decayed teeth". Unfortunately for us, he doesn't !

The reasoning?

One gets the feeling that Pepsi has gone ahead to win back it's GenNext audience which has increasingly gravitated towards the Baristas and Café Coffee Days in the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, what Pepsi fails to realize is that they're not going to come back by launching a new flavor, but by creating third places.

And really, the only take-off they'll get for the flavor is by giving it away free with KFC or Pizza Hut meals !

Impact for Pepsi

For Pepsi, India has been a high impact market, the rare place where it has comprehensively beaten Coke , and like HLL vs. P&G, it's been a case of a global number two becoming number one in India. Both Pepsi and HLL have become talent exporters for their mother companies, but disasters like Pepsi Café Chino will surely pull Pepsi India's reputation a few notches down !

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