Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, March 21, 2021

one with everything
Diet brands are the new growth drivers in the beverage industry, and Pepsi is signifying that in a couple of big marketing moves:

- The most dramatic shift is in replacing regular Pepsi as the flagship product with Diet Pepsi, and rearranging corporate ad/marketing budgets accordingly. The company is already rolling out ads in this rededicated “Light, Crisp, Refreshing” campaign.

I’m sure there are other examples of a secondary product line growing out the shadows to supplant the former default frontrunner, but I can’t think of any right now. That Pepsi is betting this heavily on the diet segment means the company is convinced of growth continuing for another generation, at least.

I’m not sure it’ll work, though; at least not with a continuation of the name “Diet Pepsi”. That name consists of a qualifier — “diet” — to distinguish it from the baseline drink. It’d be unusual for that sort of brand to become the flagship product. If anything, assuming this trend continues (and that’s no sure thing, as consumer food preferences can be fickle), I’d expect to see the “diet” dropped, and the low/no calorie drink would become the “new” Pepsi.

- On a similar front, the old Pepsi One drink is being relaunched, in unusual fashion: Around a campaign that eschews television advertising altogether.

It’s an experiment, really, to see if the decrease in television viewing that younger consumers are indicating is real. Success or failure here can be a broad litmus test for large-scale corporate advertising, and I’m very curious to see how it shakes out.

The centerpiece for all this: A dedicated website that plays off the “One” name. It’s full of shiny happy imagery:

Its theme, “Oneify,” is intended to bounce off the brand name as well as address seemingly contradictory trends in the youth market signaled by the word “one.” Twenty-somethings often say they want to be perceived as individuals but also identify collectively with their peers.

“Kids are so smart, they’ll call you out on overt marketing in a minute,” said Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative officer at TBWA Worldwide, owned by the Omnicom Group. “So telling them a ‘one-calorie, great taste’ story is so ho-hum to them.”

“If you engage them in unorthodox ways, with a bit of grace, charm, whimsy, fun and discovery,” he added, “you can actually ask them to buy something.”

Whatever. To me, it’s risky to make up cutesy words using “one” as the base. It brings to mind that running joke from that sappy movie, That Thing You Do!, where the band started out calling itself “The One-nders”, with the intention of having it pronounced as “Wonders”. It backfired, because everyone in the film read it as being pronounced “o-neen-ders”. Same thing here: I can see “Oneify” being warped to “o-nee-fy”.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/21/2005 11:09:08 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food | Permalink | Feedback (6)

Yep, it’s Final Four hoops time. You can peruse my basketball archives to see that I’m just as enthralled by this year’s action as I am every year.

I’ll save you some time: Neither pro nor college basketball interests me in the least. Thus, this will probably be my one and only post on the subject.

The reason for this one? Because, despite my specific disinterest, I love me a good sports headline; and yesterday’s Villanova upset of Florida, handing the Gators their fifth straight early exit from the tourney, yielded a much-appreciated topper:

Same ol’ song in Dance

Congrats to the anonymous copy editor who crafted it. As always, some of us take special notice.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/21/2005 07:48:18 PM
Category: Basketball | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Just when you thought the era of dot-com overvaluation was long gone, Barry Diller and his IAC/InterActiveCorp demonstrate just how much loose change there is out there for a nothing-but-flash website. IAC agreed to acquire search engine Ask Jeeves for $1.8 billion in stock, in a bid to enter the search wars.

Almost $2 billion for an entrenched also-ran that, regardless of how much money/resource it gets, will never come close to challenging the Googles and Yahoo!s of the online world. Granted, it’s not a cash purchase, but it’s still a colossal waste. I understand the concept of buying into an established operation, and such purchase candidates are limited. But give me a break — I don’t care how many dinky licensing partnerships Ask Jeeves has, it doesn’t come close to such a high valuation, especially when IAC was likely bidding against itself.

I guess I shouldn’t complain. If this move sparks a rise in the online property market, I can soon command a cool million for this site.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/21/2005 07:35:44 PM
Category: Internet, Business | Permalink | Feedback

So Yahoo! is acquiring Flickr, adding another community-based online property to its portfolio. (I’m hoping someone’s seriously checked this story thoroughly — a blog post announcement by a VP of Marketing named “Caterina Fake” ought to set off some reporter’s BS alarm.)

With millions of people going digital-camera crazy, software that helps you organize the hundreds of pictures of junior and doggie are growing in popularity. So it’s smart of Yahoo! to get in on an early entrant in what’s looking to be a huge consumer market. It follows the company’s aim of becoming a Web hub for all manner of services, all accessible via a Yahoo! user ID.

Looking macro-strategically, picking up Flickr is a countermove to Google’s absorption of Picasa. Microsoft’s MSN Network already had a photosharing component as part of its offerings, as does AOL.

The pieces seem to be in place for Yahoo! to fill in a conspicious hole in its offerings: Blog software and hosting. It’s another community-building service, and Flickr would be a perfect compliment for it. The question is, does Yahoo! start a blogging component on its own (as MSN and AOL did), or does it acquire an established service (like Google did with Blogger — which, incidentally, prior to the Picasa move, referenced Flickr as a photo-hosting option)?

I’m a little surprised Yahoo! hasn’t jumped on the blog bandwagon yet. Perhaps it’s waiting for the right timing or deal. Acquisition candidates are getting scarcer; dominant freebies Blogger and LiveJournal are scooped up, leaving niche communities like Xanga and Diaryland (either of which can be taken over and retooled).

UPDATE, 3/24/05: Yahoo! 360, the upcoming beta offering, includes a blog component. It’s not clearly defined at this point, although it sure looks like a LiveJournal/Xanga affinity-style blog network is in the works. I’m assuming Yahoo! will be building it from the ground up, although that doesn’t preclude the acquisition of an existing blog service to jumpstart a user base.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/21/2005 05:24:12 PM
Category: Internet, Bloggin', Business | Permalink | Feedback (1)