Pepsi Made a ‘Perfect’ Mistake With Its ‘Back to the Future’ Marketing Plan

Pepsi Made a ‘Perfect’ Mistake With Its ‘Back to the Future’ Marketing Plan


marketingOctober 21, 2015: The day that advertisers and marketers have been anticipating for over two decades, ever since Marty McFly, Jennifer Parker, and Doc Brown traveled “back to the future” in 1989.

The advertising team at PepsiCo. was surely eagerly awaiting the date, which was featured in the popular movie “Back to the Future II” starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly. In the movie, “Pepsi Perfect” was Marty’s favorite soft drink.

Pepsi decided to release a 16.9 oz. limited edition of “Pepsi Perfect” (which isn’t actually any different from regular Pepsi, besides being made with “Real Sugar,” as a press release stated) which consumers could purchase through Amazon and Walmart, according to Fortune and the New York Post.

The drink was listed for $20.15, but Pepsi never actually announced the time when the drink would go on sale. Most people assumed that it would be available on October 21, but a small group of fans discovered that Amazon and Walmart had actually put the bottles on sale on October 20. The news spread on reviews and on Reddit, according to FOX News, but the majority of “Future” fans logged onto their computers at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 21 to purchase their bottles.

The problem was, nearly all of the 6,500 limited release bottles of “Pepsi Perfect” had sold out the day before. The company sent out a tweet at 8:32 a.m. on Oct. 21 blaming the incident on a technical glitch that only affected some consumers.

“The future may have arrived early for some lucky fans, but #PepsiPerfect isn’t sold out just yet! It goes on sale this morning!” the tweet read.

Tthose unlucky fans weren’t buying it, though. In fact, some even stated that they wouldn’t be buying any Pepsi products from now on.

“Good job Pepsi. You have completely wrecked your image in a matter of hours. These are currently going for $500+ on ebay. Your business plan and market research are quite possibly worse than the actual product itself. Have fun losing out on a bunch of money,” wrote one Amazon reviewer.

“Pepsi and their scam with this release has just make [sic] me switch to Coca-Cola,” wrote another.

The company later announced that it would be released another round of 6,500 “Pepsi Perfect” bottles through on Nov. 3, 2015 at 6 a.m. PT, again priced at $20.15.

It seems as though the damage has been done, however, at least for Pepsi’s “Future” marketing stint. Although “interesting content” is one of the top three reasons why consumers follow a brand on social media — and this is pretty easy to create when a popular movie from the 80s references a specific company and product — over 50% of loyal consumers who follow a brand on social media are doing so because they trust the brand.

For many Pepsi fans, building up the hype for “Pepsi Perfect” and failing to produce an actual product was enough of a mistake to warrant total dismissal.

“Horrible launch. Way to lie and false advertise the release date and time to your customers,” reads an Amazon review. “I will never buy a Pepsi product again.”


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