Pepsico Connects With Shift To ‘Cultural Branding’

No more is Pepsico using multicultural marketing techniques to reach African-American and Hispanic consumers. Rather, the company’s brand units are now engaged in “cultural branding.”

Speaking this morning at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference in Miami Beach, Pepsi Bottling Co. CMO Simon Lowden noted that the company has brought “a reignition, or rebirth” to what had previously been multicultural branding. Displaying statistics that show Liquid Refreshment Beverage growth from 2010 to 2015 among Hispanics at 110 percent, Lowden called these projections “a major call-to-action for our business.” In the last year, Pepsico moved forward with such efforts as the rollout of a well-received Diet Pepsi television spot featuring Sofia Vergara and soccer icon David Beckham. It also launched the first spot produced by an African-American advertising agency to appear during the NFL’s Super Bowl telecast.

Javier Farfan, senior director of cultural branding for Pepsi Beverages America, noted, “We have to get out of this space of marginalizing our multicultural marketing efforts.” This includes placing the ‘new American mainstream’ at the core of Pepsico’s efforts, engaging consumers at both the national and hyperlocal level, and elevating product innovation to meet cultural needs. Lowden revealed that the popular apple-flavored soda Manzanita Sol will be imported from Mexico to high-density Hispanic markets in California, Texas and Florida to compete against brands including Sidral Mundet. “We can no longer accept general-market programs that don’t include African-American or Hispanic audiences,” Lowden concluded.

Other highlights from the first morning of the ANA Multicultural conference included the unannounced appearance of actor Edward James Olmos, who serves as a Hispanic market spokesperson for Farmers Insurance. Speaking of the importance of creating an emotional connection with consumers, Olmos spoke of his efforts with the Immigrant Archive Project, which Farmers is a lead sponsor.

At a breakfast presentation, People en Español publisher Monique Manso and president Michelle Ebanks revealed that the magazine, along with African-American female-focused title Essence, will offer full tablet-device versions of their respective publications starting in late December, with the February 2012 editions.

In opening remarks that officially kicked off the conference, ANA President/CEO Bob Liodice asked that marketers and advertising industry professionals embrace the philosophy that the multicultural market is “the new general market” and that we cannot continue to thinking of it as a separate segment of the overall consumer population. “Despite the hope for consistent change, marketers are making process,” he said, citing Coca-Cola, State Farm, McDonald’s and Best Buy as companies that have taken a lead in embracing multicultural consumers.

Other Monday sessions include a question-and-answer session with noted Latin music producer Emilio Estefan, and a discussion on diversity management presented by AT&T Inc. vice president of diverse markets Jennifer Jones.


I’m not a dreamer, and I’m not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer. But I believe in miracles. I have to.” — Terry Fox. Humanitarian. Athlete. Cancer research activist.


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