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Pepsi ad failed its multicultural audience

Pepsi ad failed its multicultural audience

Pepsi is still doing that. As recent as 2013, Beyoncé and Christiana Aguilar were hired to promote domestic sales in black and Latino markets, respectively.

Despite public outcry, many multicultural marketers at soft-drink industries applauded Pepsi with their recent ad for recognizing the expanding face of its consumer base and for aiming to employ “guerrilla advertising” and “rebel marketing” at disaffected Millennials, especially in urban cities.  

With pushback from healthcare professionals, activists and environmentalists about marketing these drinks, like Pepsi, to economically distress area where fast-food chains also disproportionately target African American and Latino populations, especially our children, the plea has fallen on deaf ears.

"But let's face it. Hispanics and African Americans are much less interested in diet products. Sugary drinks — often the sweeter the better — do well with them,” Todd Putman, a white professional multicultural marketer, quoted in the Advertising Age article “Soft-Drink Industry Is Smart to Target Hispanics and Blacks.” There are a lot of cultural barriers to getting both these groups to understand the importance of being lean.”    

There are a lot of cultural and socioeconomic barriers and the inundation of these ads are one of them. For example, with both former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC and former First Lady Michelle Obama campaigns against unhealthy sugary drinks to combat childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, Coke and Pepsi, notwithstanding, are the beverages of choice among both groups, exceeding water.  During black and Latino prime time TV shows, especially on networks like Black Entertainment Television (BET) and the American Spanish-language Telemundo, Coke and Pepsi ads run disproportionally higher than on general prime TV show-  13 percent of their ads on those networks compared to 2 percent on the others. 

With African Americans and Latinos markets viewed as providing soft drink companies a “lifetime of opportunity” these companies are disincentivized to create healthier beverages.  And they don’t see it as exploitation, but rather as niche marketing. 

"Do they owe these groups an apology? I don’t think so…. On many levels, the soft-drink industry is being demonized as if it were the new big tobacco.” 

Pepsi is lauded as a friend to African American and Latinos communities. As a corporate philanthropist, Pepsi gives generously to African American and Latinos causes and organizations.  In 2015, Pepsi celebrated its 50th Anniversary Giving Back program.  One of its big grant recipients was Big Brothers Big Sister of Metropolitan Chicago, an at-risk youth program that aims to improve their changes at the American Dream.

But how could their chances be improved upon drinking their product? 

Pepsi has a high concentration of sugar and caffeine. Both are addictive ingredients keeping our children coming back for more. Their ads are, too.