One Love

from New York Times: The Pepsi-Cola Company, long famous for elaborate, expensive spots stuffed with celebrities, music and special effects, is forgoing them for the multimillion-dollar Pepsi One campaign, now getting under way.
The TV commercials that helped introduce Pepsi One, which ran from 1998 to 2001 during high-profile programs like the Super Bowl and featured stars like Cuba Gooding Jr. and Kim Cattrall, are being replaced. In their stead are offbeat alternatives that include promotional events, online films, posters put up on construction sites, even trading cards.
The campaign features oddball characters created by Geoff McFetridge, a Southern California graphic designer who has worked for ESPN X Games, Nike and the young directors Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze.
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, the agency responsible for the Pepsi One work. “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.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. The Late David Ogilvy says:

    Lee Clow is quoted as saying, “Kids are so smart, they’ll call you out on overt marketing in a minute.”
    So let me get this straight: It’s better to trick kids through stealth marketing than persuade them with something more straightforward?
    I’m not disputing the validity of Mr. Clow’s comments. I think he’s absolutely right. But it seems ethically dubious to manipulate kids into buying your product by pretending not to advertise to them when you really are.
    You could certainly make the case that all advertising is, to some degree, manipulative and dishonest. But if an ad isn’t trying to disguise the fact that it’s an ad, well, that seems a little more honest to me.
    Personally, I think people have gotten so media savvy that they can see through these kinds of things. They know they are being sold to, even if we creatives think they don’t.

  2. Yeah, let’s just put this one to bed once and for all: if you’re an American and you’ve been alive more than, say, five minutes or so, you know when you’re being marketed to. Kids. Adults. Farm animals. Everyone. Case closed.
    Now on to what’s more disturbing about this.
    Is it just me or is it weird that a one calorie drink is being sold as such to kids? Assuming you’re not a kid with special dietary needs, why would most kids care about the fact that, paraphrasing the site, a one calorie drink can have great flavor?
    Or is this the next big market for all adult products? Doans Pills for achy pre-schoolers? Charles Schwab heping you make the most of your extra lunch money?

  3. Isn’t it ironic–well, now Pepsi, having slaked the thirst of a generation of fatass kids though their Big Gulps, is now marketing the one-calorie antidote to them.
    We didn’t have a coke or pepsi machine in my high school growing up. And we had to walk to school–uphill both ways in the Atlanta snow. Kids today are soft.

  4. I’m just honored that the late great David Ogilvy dropped in on us. I guess ghosts do exist, after all.

  5. The Late David Ogilvy says:

    The honor is all mine, Mr. Burn. Your blog is one of my favorite haunts – pun not intended. Lots of trenchant commentary without the usual self-important ad speak. Besides, when you lie rotting in a fetid tomb, there’s not a lot else to do. Keep up the good work, gentlemen.

  6. Mr. Ogilvy, please say hi to Mr. Bernbach, Mr. Chiat, and Mr. Gossage for us. Must be one hell of a poker game going on up there.

  7. The Late David Ogilvy says:

    Actually, Danny G (love your music, by the way), we prefer a rousing game of tiddlywinks. Although sometimes, when we get all liquored up, we play Hungry Hungry Hippos.