The Pepsi Galaxy – viral genius or advertising hell?


Pepsi gravity

As Scott is busy with his Rostergate campaign, it’s fallen onto me to find some interesting and unusual titbits that have passed over the Holyrood PR desk this week.

After a bit of searching, I found the following piece of comedy gold which I really hope isn’t a wind up. There are a few warning signs that it could be an incredibly well conceived piece of viral marketing – particularly as it’s currently spreading across the net like wildfire – but I hope this isn’t the case, as it’s far more hilarious to think that Pepsi actually paid tens of millions of dollars for this.

The gist of the story is this: Pepsi has been seeking a bit of a re-brand, due to the fact that the global recession is hitting hard and they need to sell millions more bottles of sugar-heavy pop to obesity-threatened teenagers. They decide that the best thing is to have a new logo (because nothing sells soda quite like a funky designer label) and pay a design company millions to come up with one.

The design firm do what anyone would do in this situation – namely, quickly knocking out something that looks pretty cool and then laughing all the way to the bank – but some bright spark at Pepsi seems to have thrown a spanner in the works by asking them to justify their work.

Now, in normal circumstances, it’s likely that the following conversation would have transpired.

Pepsi exec – “We love the logo – how did you come up with it?”

Advertising lackey – “We did months of market research, talked to X,Y and Z demographics and came up with an exciting, dynamic and forward-thinking logo that will reach out to the generations of the 21st century.”

Pepsi exec – “No really, how did you do it?”

Advertising lackey – “Dave the cleaner doodled it on a napkin and we thought it looked kinda neat…”

But in this case, the agency tasked with coming up with this new design (which, incidentally, looks pretty similar to the old one in my opinion) has created the ultimate piece of literature to justify their multi-million dollar creation. And as pieces of techno-babble and slick advertising mumbo jumbo go, this one takes some beating.

You see, apparently everything from within the realms of social and scientific history – including the Big Bang and the theory of relativity – have, in fact, been leading towards this new Pepsi brand.

Feng Shui? Well, the ying-yang symbol was really just a Pepsi prototype. Gravity? The Pepsi globe has its own gravitational pull, of course. DNA? Yes, you’ve guessed it, the building blocks of life are actually there in order to sell the world’s second-biggest selling cola…

I can’t really do it justice here, but check out the whole document here or by following this link: The section about the Pepsi Galaxy is especially hilarious.

Pepsi galaxy

If this is a 100 per cent true pitch, then it really does show everything that is wrong about the advertising and marketing industry. In PR, we continuously try to sell – and sometimes oversell – our clients to the media, but not even the most shameless flack would consider trying to do something like this. Yet when it comes to advertising a billion dollar brand, company executives are more than willing to lap up this kind of rubbish.

Of course, there is also a possibility that this could be a carefully staged piece of viral marketing that is designed to raise incredulous laughs of astonishment while drilling a subconscious “buy Pepsi” message to its audience. If so, it’s a piece of genius and its creator deserves a medal for raising the bar as far as this kind of low-cost, online fake advertising is concerned.

You can make up your own mind after reading the brief, but I really hope this is genuine. I love the idea that someone with a lot more money than I will ever have has wasted millions on this kind of ridiculousness. I bet Coca Cola are wetting themselves with laughter…