Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 5, 2010 03:30 PM
A cultural milestone was reached last year in Argentina when Pepsi changed the word "Pepsi" to "Pecsi" in their ad campaign. "Pecsi" is an easier pronunciation given Argentine Spanish phonetics. The motive: closer affinity with local consumers.
The ad campaign also expressed that Pepsi was on the side of Argentineans affected by the tough economy. A Pepsi, or "Pecsi," costs one peso less than a Coke, making it the obvious choice for budget-conscious consumers. The campaign has resulted in – even in the upscale neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, such as Recoleta and Palermo – soda drinkers asking for a "Pecsi" rather than a Pepsi.
The tongue-twister story doesn't end there, however. "Pecsi" crossed the Atlantic and arrived in Spain as "Pesi." A new commercial-within-a-commercial features Spanish soccer star Fernando Torres becoming fed up with the director who keeps correcting his pronunciation of "Pepsi."
"Pesi" is considered to have a greater chance of being assimilated into the Spanish lexicon than either "Pecsi" or "Pepsi."
Pepsi launched a new global mindset when it decided to change the second "P" to a "C" when marketing in Argentina. And it appears this new mindset will influence its brand identity in other parts of the world.
"This campaign is based on a universal insight: Pepsi is pronounced in many different ways, as was reflected in the… Argentina campaign," said a spokeswoman for Pepsi's agency in Spain, Contrapunto BBDO.
The world continues to become a smaller place as technology and commerce bring people closer together, and brands will increasingly be placed in situations where a global identity can find ways to cleverly access cultural nuances.