CASSIES Bronze: Pepsi MAX mouths off

Nolin BBDO swears by a new Quebec campaign to build the zero-cal product’s business.

BRONZE: Off to a Good Start

Situation Analysis: Pepsi MAX  launched in Quebec in 2008 as a zero calorie product, but had failed to resonate with consumers. By 2010 its market share (which had earlier peaked at 0.3 points) was down to 0.1, while arch-rival Coke Zero had climbed to 1.9. Given Pepsi’s overall franchise dominance in Quebec, a new positioning was clearly needed.

Strategy & Insight: Quebecers expect a zero calorie product to sacrifice taste, but consumer taste tests showed that Pepsi MAX actually tastes as good as Pepsi. This would be surprising news to say the least, so the question was how to get it across. The answer was to show the surprise using something entirely unique to Quebec: jouals. These are not just a softened version of swear words (think “holy moly” in English), they are a deep-rooted part of Quebec culture.

Execution: The campaign started in February 2011 with a “jouals” TV spot, and later asked consumers to share their favourite jouals through a Facebook application.

Results: Tonnage shipments for first half of 2011 are +600% vs. year ago and +140% vs. target. Share has followed suit, hitting 1 point, compared to the previous low of 0.1.

Cause & Effect: Campaign timing aligns clearly with the Pepsi MAX growth, and equity scores are ahead on all the main measures. Spending levels were ahead somewhat, but only in line with the business-building potential of the campaign. As for Pepsi MAX pricing, this has declined somewhat over the past three years, but only to bring it in line with Coke Zero.


PepsiCo Beverages Canada
VP beverages: Greg Lyons; director CSDs: Robb Hadley; marketing manager: Jonathan Watts; assistant MM: Wenchelle Lao

Nolin BBDO
CDs: Stéphane Charier, Cher Campbell; copywriter: Jeff Gonick; producers: Dominique Brassard, Céline Carbonneau; group account director: Benoit Béland; web producer: Patrick McConnell; web developer: Charles-Antoine Gendry; film director: Jon Barber; production house producer: Caroline Signer-Boucher; director of photography: Sara Mishara; media group director of strategy: Daniele Boem

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