June 5, 2005
Memo to Neville Isdell, CEO, Coca-Cola: Major E. is Thirsty!
Hey, Coca-Cola: Carpe diem! Seize the Day! Your moment is now! I understand that you don’t want to make too unseemly a display of rejoicing at Pepsi’s self-immolation, but now is the time to act. I do hate to give away free consulting, but here’s what you need to be doing:
But you really need to focus in on a story from Powerline (who first broke the Nooyi story) about Major E., an American soldier currently serving in Iraq and stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad.
Major E. is thirsty. You may have heard: it’s hot over there. The temperature forecast for tomorrow is 107 degrees, and over 100 all week long. . . And he works in a tank.
And Major E. is boycotting Pepsi and Gatorade.
The Major wrote to Pepsi (from Powerline) telling them that he was boycotting their products because “I found Ms. Nooyi’s graduation comments offensive, not to mention off-base, because the central theme of her speech was that America is, in essence, “flipping off the world.”
The good Major asked for a response from Pepsi; what he got was standard boilerplate. Be sure to read an article Scott Johnson of Powerline just wrote for the Daily Standard that lays out a whole series of exchanges between Major E. and Pepsi. Here’s an excerpt from his most recent letter to Pepsi:
The question that I have asked since my first communication on this topic is whether PepsiCo agrees with the values that underlie Ms. Nooyi’s statement made as the president of PepsiCo, not as a private citizen, since she is the company’s president who made the remarks from a prepared text before a high-profile graduate school with media present. In regard to our relations with the rest of the world, does PepsiCo believe that America is “giving the finger,” or “lending a hand?”
This is the third time I have asked the question and though it seems quite straightforward, I have yet to receive an answer, only polite responses promising to “forward” my message.
But what really caught my attention — and should catch yours — is this excerpted letter from Major E. to Scott Johnson at Powerline, in which he describes a midnight tank patrol:
. . .The temperature stayed in the 80’s outside and hovered just over 100 degrees inside the tank. The combination of heat, helmet, and heavy protective gear meant that each time I sat down inside, sweat would begin to stream down my face within a minute or two. The rest of the patrol remained quiet, other than the odd rifle crack. . .
. . .Speaking of thirst, I am still dehydrated from the tank patrol. But since I have given up drinking Pepsi and Gatorade, hopefully only a temporary measure, I am stuck with Kuwait’s finest “Abraaj” bottled water, mixed with fruit punch.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for all of the support you and your readers give to the troops.
“Other than the odd rifle crack??!” Let me get this straight: This man is serving our country in 100 degree heat. . . in a tank thousands of miles from home . . . and he has to drink “Abraaj” water from Kuwait?
Hello? Coca-Cola?? I seem to recall that you, Coca-Cola, have competitive products for Pepsi and Gatorade. . .
Time to get in gear. Major E. is thirsty. Send him some Powerade and make it snappy!
Here’s the free advice. Get your marketing team working overnight to come up with a “Camp Victory” campaign. Redesign the Powerade labeling in a special collector’s edition camouflage version. Load the crates up on the plane and get them to Baghdad on the double.
And Mr. Isdell, if I were you, I’d hand the first one out of the crate to Major E. personally.
Get to work guys, it’s hot over there.
BLEG: Hey you Photoshop hotshots — what would a Powerade in cammy look like? I’d love to see it!
Mudville, Open Post: thanks!