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June 5, 2005

Memo to Neville Isdell, CEO, Coca-Cola: Major E. is Thirsty!

June 5, 2005 | By | 11 Comments

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:

coke_ad.jpgnoticed, but your number one competitor has been in a bit of hot water lately. We’ve had a little something to say about the President of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi’s ill-considered speech to Columbia Business School here at Reasoned Audacity.

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.

In Christ,

Major E.

Camp Victory

“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!

LINKS:

Mudville, Open Post: thanks!

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Comments

  1. Paul H.

    Saw the link & came over from Powerline.

    I’m not positive of this, but I’m pretty sure that Coca-Cola was one of the US companies on the standard boycott of the various Arab states for many years due to their doing business in Israel.

    I think this boycott had supposedly had been rescinded by the time I spent a year in Saudi Arabia (93-94, around the time of the euphoria over the Oslo process), but I can tell you that personally I hardly ever saw Coca Cola for sale over there. It was all Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi.

    (Same thing with Ford company vehicles; never saw them. GM and Chevy products were everywhere though).

    Given this history, I wouldn’t be surprised if you heard nothing back from the Coca-Cola marketing people about your “proposal”; it might hhurt them in their marketing efforts in the Mideast more than it would help them in the US domestic market.

  2. scoove

    Don’t forget that Pepsi is also sitting on top of an across-the-board 15% price hike, implemented last December to the dismay of retailers (many larger independent food distributors have noted that their retailers have Pepsi products that have stopped moving; Pepsi will likely see upcoming 10Qs with initial improvement in margin but should already have noticed a strong slide in sales).

    Any coordinated effort by Coke (rather than matching Pepsi’s aggressive move and leaving it up to smaller bottlers to disrupt the market) would be devestating combined with Pepsi’s red state alienation.

  3. Okay, here’s my Cammy Powerade attempt.

  4. ed

    Hmmm.

    Makes sense to me. How did Gilette makes it’s brand? How did Heinz become the top ketchup brand? By providing to soldiers during wartime. Soldiers remember such products with wistful nostaliga and the people at home buy such products because *their* boys are girls use them.

    Frankly I think Coke’s vaunted PR peeps are little slow on this. What? Don’t they read blogs?

  5. CHARMAINE YOEST SAYS COKE SHOULD ATTACK PEPSI

    Charmain Yoest, wickedly smart, and refreshingly American says Coke should attack Pepsi over the Indra Nooyi controversy. She’s right that Pepsi is vulnerable to attack. But I doubt Coke will exploit it. Who will exploit it? I’m waiting for a

  6. tim

    Great idea! The only problem is that the wingnut market is not large enough for Coke. See, nutcases like you are really a tiny minority. Sorry.

  7. Hank

    tim, somehow I think it’ll sell a little better than what you’ve been drinking lately:

    Pepsi’s new HowardAde MoonJuice sport drink. HowardAde MoonJuice. It brings out the “yeaaaaaaarghhh!” in you.

  8. JohninLondon

    tim

    You’ll be surprised how far these stories spread. PepsiCo are shooting themselves in the foot on this one.

    And can’t you remember the damage to French wine sales ?

  9. 23dtrg@22kjsa.2o4kh

    Maybe Major E. can make his own gatorade. There are many recipies on the web:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=make+your+own+gatorade

  10. Matt

    This is about the dumbest web site (if i dared to call it that ) that i’ve ever been to. thank god it was FARK that got me here, otherwise i’d have to reformate my hard drive. Oh yeah nice BLOG ROLL like anyone cares

  11. Lamar Cole

    Love is two people sipping Coca Cola

    from the same straw on a warm sunny

    day.

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