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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Post # 112 - Mountain Dew Typhoon: Pepsi Names Its Flavors After Natural Disasters - 5/11/2010

Dear Pepsi,

I take great offense to one of the candidates in your latest DEWmocracy campaign. There are three flavors: White Out, Distortion, and the topic of this letter: Typhoon.

I’m sure you’re trying to have fun with the names, and it can be fun to pretend, when you sip, you’re in the middle of a fun, refreshing typhoon. A typhoon or tropical storm is a tropical cyclone that forms in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. That sounds really refreshing.

Well, it isn’t.

As Typhoon survivor, I need to stand up and say “Wait a second!” Watching people around you die isn’t my idea of refreshment.

In 1984, Typhoon Ike, in the Phillipines, killed over 1400 people and left almost 500,000 homeless. In 2010 dollars, it caused almost $2.1 billion in damage. The Swatow typhoon in China resulted in around 60,000 deaths in 1922. The Super Typhoon Nina in China which contributed to the Banqiao Dam failure, resulted in over 200,000 deaths in 1975. Tasty? I think not.

But I get it—those things didn’t happen “here”. They happened “over there”.

Seeing a spiraling vortex suck your neighbor’s cow, and your uncle’s VW Rabbit isn’t any kind of picnic. Losing your home isn’t something that should be trivialized by stamping the cause on the side of a beverage container.

Marketing people can be brilliant at times, and at other times, so short-sighted. Open your eyes Pepsi!

That is all.


Subject: A Message from Consumer Relations 012330204A
Date: Wed, 12 May 2010 11:00:21 -0400

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for taking the time to email us at Pepsi about Mountain Dew Typhoon. We appreciate your comments and, I assure you, we attach a great deal of importance to the views of our consumers.

For that reason, we sincerely regret that the name of this product offended or upset you. That was certainly not our intention.

It's extremely important to us at Pepsi that our produts serve to enhance the positive image that's helped place our brands among the world's most popular consumer products. If we should miss the mark, we need to know about it, which is why I intend to pass along your comments to our ad team. I want them to be aware of your opinion as they discuss future offers.

Thanks again for taking the time to email us and for sharing your constructive comments.

Dennis Dowd
Consumer Relations Representative
My 5/12/2010 Response,

Dear Dennis,

It sounds like you are taking this seriously. What will happen if Typhoon wins the DEWmocracy election? Will they pull it? How will the Pepsi Spin Doctors handle it?

Do the right thing!

My response, dated 5/13/2010


If you and I can’t agree that naming a refreshing soft drink after a tragic natural disaster in a third world country is stupid, then we don’t have much left to discuss.

The Marketing Team, the folks to whom you’re presenting my feedback, are feeling high and mighty about their Typhoon idea. You may need to go over their heads. You may need to blaze a trail.

I’m a bottom-line guy. Let me know when you’ve succeeded.

Thanks again.


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