Why Pepsi and everything connected with it are despised in the PhilippinesBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/why-pepsi-and-everything-connected-with-it-are-despised-in-the-philippines
Pepsi Co products are known all over the world and, it would seem, they are loved everywhere. But this is not so – in the Philippines, working in this company is considered a disgrace, and the attitude to the drinks themselves is, to put it mildly, dismissive. And the fatal mistake that the soda manufacturer made in his advertising campaign is to blame for everything.
It all started very decently. In 1992, Pepsi decided to increase sales in the Philippines and resorted to a proven advertising move. A three-digit code was placed on the back of the caps with drinks, which made it possible to win from 100 to 1 million Philippine pesos (from 300 to 3 million rubles).
The average Filipino earned 1,650 pesos a month in the early 90s, so even a minimal win became a good financial help. What can we say about the main prize that made the lucky man rich, because 1 million pesos is the earnings of a simple worker for 50 years.
Of course, the demand for Pepsi products has jumped incredibly. Despite the very low chances of winning the grand prize, people spent their last money to buy the cherished bottle.
In just a few days, Pepsi, Mountain Dew and 7 Up drinks became a hit of sales. Their market share in the Philippines was 25%, and factory managers had to urgently recruit people to produce even more in-demand products.
PepsiCo has been extremely honest with its consumers. By the beginning of the grandiose scandal, 18 residents of the country received 1 million pesos each, and it was planned to distribute 50 million pesos in total during the campaign.
The news of the winnings spurred even more customers who swept drinks off the shelves of stores. It all ended on May 25, 1992, the day of the final draw. 65 million residents of the Philippines clung to television screens, wanting to find out the coveted winning number and the last two lucky ones.
One of the winning caps
It turned out to be the number 349, and a wave of jubilation swept the country. There were 600 thousand winning caps, and some Filipinos even had several of them! The fault was the mistake of the manufacturers, because of which a huge batch of bottles was marked with one number.
On the morning of May 26, Pepsi offices across the country were attacked by "millionaires" demanding their money. Of course, the company could not pay such a huge amount of money and found itself in a very ugly situation.
Pepsi's top managers in desperation called the Ministry of Commerce of the Philippines, tried to explain themselves to people through the media, offering to reduce the amount and trying to explain that an unfortunate mistake had occurred – all in vain.
Burning car near Pepsi office in Manila
Thousands of crowds, feeling cheated, no longer cheered, but threatened the company and shouted insults under the windows. Then stones were used – first they broke windows in offices, and then they began to attack cars with products. It got to the point that Pepsi trucks moved around the country only accompanied by guards. Several cars were still burned by an angry crowd.
The ugly story ended with the company being inundated with lawsuits. Some of the winners agreed to a payment of 500 pesos (approximately 1.5 thousand rubles). In total, the advertising campaign instead of 50 million pesos cost the company 240 million.
Another 10 million had to be paid to a thousand citizens who defended their rights in the courts. But the trial dragged on for many years and 10 years later, the Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled that Pepsi was not to blame for what happened and the money was never paid.
Of course, what happened hit Pepsi's reputation in the country hard. The company continues to sell drinks in the Philippines, but does not hold any more promotions. And the language of the inhabitants of the country has been enriched with a new expression – "to become 349", which means to be brazenly deceived.
But Pepsi's main office can console themselves with the fact that their advertising failure in the Philippines was not the most grandiose in history. There have been cases and much worse.