I have been in touch with Richard Lee, the chief marketing officer of PepsiCo China, since 2008. Every time we meet up he shares a new story with me.

Over the years, I’ve started to recognize a clear message in Pepsi’s narrative. Pepsi’s purpose is to show that traditional values are still relevant, especially in the context of China’s current economic growth. It is a clear ‘people’ purpose.

Some years ago Richard told me about the ‘Thirst for Creativity’ campaign, as part of which Pepsi gave young creatives a chance to express themselves in this rather logic-oriented society. Some really cool stuff came out of this campaign. It raised awareness of the importance of creativity, not just for individuals, but for society as a whole.

Richard Lee PEPSICO coolbrands
Richard Lee

In 2012 he showed me a video in which three PepsiCo brands joined forces around Chinese New Year to reconnect young people to family values. It underscored the idea that at the end of the day, family is a very powerful and important entity, which is something the new generation in today’s China tends to forget.

“You know how our society has been changing over the last couple of years?” Richard starts. “As the economy grows, values change. We have to be careful not to lose our humanity in this race.

“As brands are so omnipresent in China today, I believe that they have an obligation to help strengthen our traditional values. We have made it our purpose to achieve this. It’s very important to us: it’s fair to say that we now divide our marketing budgets between increasing the preference for our brands and sharing a higher message about values. We’ve been doing this for seven years now, with great success.”

“So what’s new, a new campaign?”

“Actually it’s not a new campaign, but do you remember the video I showed you for Chinese New Year 2012? The concept of that campaign, ‘Bring Happiness Home’, fit our brands so perfectly, that we extended it.

“Now we are in our third year of ‘Bring Happiness Home’ and for this year we did something even more impactful. We introduced the concept of ‘happiness giving’. We believe that happiness is a very strong and contagious emotion. Because when you give away happiness, you’ll get happiness in return.”

“This is a multi-brand campaign, right? If I remember correctly, it featured three PepsiCo brands that all have the Chinese symbol for happiness in their names, which is why ‘Bring Happiness Home’ was a perfect match.

Meeting Richard Lee coolbrands
Meeting Richard Lee PepsiCo China – CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands

“Correct, we figured a joint campaign would be much more powerful. Our brands are very complimentary in the consumer’s mind, also because of their names, so it worked perfectly in the campaign, for which we came up with the slogan ‘Better Together’.”

“Nice! It sounds like a well thought-out strategy!”

“Let me order you a Pepsi and then I’ll tell you all about our work for ‘Bring Happiness Home’ campaign during Chinese New Year 2014.”

© 2014 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands

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