Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rebranding Pepsi to Spanish Speakers

Have you heard about what Pepsi is doing in Argentina and Spain?

It's pretty amazing, really. BBDO, its agency, learned that Argentines tend to say "Pecsi" instead of "Pepsi." This is something universally known among Spanish speakers. But the agency was on to something when they leveraged this insight in its marketing to consumers in that country.

Pecsi was born. I even saw a rebranded Pecsi can, but I can't be sure they took it that far.

Now they've pulled a similar trick in Spain. But there, it's "Pesi." The ad is pretty hilarious, showing a famous soccer player pronouncing it the way ... well, the way they do. Pesi. Pecsi. It's just hard to get that second "p" in there for native Spanish speakers. I have friends from other countries who say one or other other--but I don't remember hearing "PePsi" from them, ever. Just like "picsa" (pizza).

So this is key for Pepsi: Learn how your customers are talking about you. Isn't that what social media is all about, when it comes to brands getting involved? This is the same thing, from my perspective. Pepsi shed its corporate image to talk to these consumers in their language. Brilliant, in my opinion.

My caveat here is that I don't believe this approach is something that can be taken on by brands ever category. For example, picture BMW and the version I always heard in Spain, "BMV." (I never understood that, by the way. If someone could please explain, I would very much appreciate it.) I think a premium brand would dilute its strength by succombing to the populace. Brands representing consumer packaged goods on the other hand are different in their natural positioning. They often work their way into serving as everyday nouns, despite trademarking and any other efforts those brands attempt.

But in this case, Pepsi is showing consumers that their way of interacting with the brand is important to the company.

My bet is that Pepsi, or "Pecsi," or "Pesi," has achieved a special appeal to these two national audiences in a way that really resonates.

Click here for the latest article in Ad Age on this topic and to see the spot Pepsi produced for its Spanish audience.

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