Monday, April 13, 2009

7 Up : Bheja Fry, 7 Up Try

Brand : 7 Up
Company : Pepsico
Agency : BBDO

Brand Analysis Count : 393

7 Up is a neglected brand. This brand despite being a Pepsico brand had failed miserably in the Indian market. Sadly it is not because of the product that the brand failed but because of the marketing mismanagement.

7 Up was launched in India in 1992. According to reports, it had a wonderful start becoming the largest selling brand in the category by 2002 . 7 Up is a lemon drink similar to Limca.

Seven Up globally is closely associated with its mascot Fido Dido. When launched in India, 7Up also bought in the famed mascot. Fido came to India in 1992 along with the brand but had a very erratic relationship with 7 Up.

Despite being in the Indian market close to 19 years, 7 Up was not a successful brand. The fault lies in the confused marketing strategy adopted by Pepsico with this brand. Pepsico is one of the world's best marketers. But when we look at individual brands like Mirinda and 7 Up, we see a confused product mix strategy from the company.

Pepsico never had a long term plan for 7 Up. When the brand was launched, the lemon flavored drink segment was perceived to be a small market with the market leader Limca ruling the market. But both Coca Cola and Pepsi was not interested in developing the category or the brand for a long time. Limca was killed by Coca Cola while Pepsi after the initial enthusiasm dropped investing in 7 Up.

The problem with 7 Up was two fold. First was the company's lack of interest in the brand and the category and second was the positioning confusion.

When launched, 7 Up was positioned as a cool drink. The brand used Fido Dido and certain imported commercial to position the brand as a cool drink for the youngsters. But the mascot and its international style failed to impress the audience. Every one liked Fido Dido but there was no connect with the mascot and the Indian audience. The company was in a dilemma because 7 Up had a strong association with Fido Dido but Fido Dido had a disconnect with the Indian audience.
This is a typical problem faced by those brands that import their foreign mascots to India . Pillsbury had a mascot Doughboy which is very famous in US but less popular in India . Fido Dido was a foreigner and hence the lack of connect was evident.The brand was really confused on how to use Fido Dido in the Indian market.

Fido Dido has an interesting background. The character was born in 1985 in a cafeteria napkin T he founders Susan Rose and Joanna Ferrone was in a discussion during which Susan Rose scribbled a figure in the napkin which later became Fido Dido. Fido became the brand ambassador for 7 Up in 1989. Another interesting fact is that Fido Dido trademark does not belong to Pepsi but belong to the founder Joanna. Hence the mascot is highly controlled by the owner and not the brand.

This lack of control has prevented Pepsi from Adapting Fido to Indian audience. It does not have the freedom to change the mascot's personality. This is an absolutely awkward situation for the brand where it had a wonderful mascot but could not change anything about the mascot.

Another factor that aided for the failure of 7 Up was the thinking among Pepsi marketers that taglines and positioning statements should not remain constant. So they keep on changing taglines and statements. One of the highly popular taglines for 7 Up was " Keep it Cool ". But the marketers at Pepsi wanted to change it for the sake of changing it. " Keep it Cool' was perhaps one of the apt and best tagline which could have lifted the brand to new hieghts had Pepsi invested in developing it.

Seven Up and Fido Dido had a short affair. In 1995 Pepsico globally stopped using Fido Dido and in India too the company stopped using the mascot. Later in 2003, the brand began using Fido Dido but again it was a half- hearted approach.

The investment of Pepsico in 7 Up was no where consistent. The brand tried some marketing gimmicks like launching a curvey bottle named 7 Up Curvey in 2006. The brand took the hot bollywood Diva Mallika Sherawat as the brand ambassador since she had those curvey look. There was an initial hype behind this launch but later it died a slow death. Beyond such stunts, there was no marketing thinking for this brand.

The brand also faced competition internally from Mountain Dew. Pepsico launched its iconic brand Mountain Dew and put lot of investment behind the brand. As a consumer I do not see any difference between Mountain Dew, Sprite and 7 Up. Limca was perceived a little different because it was cloudy. Pepsico was also confused on how to clearly differentiate Dew and 7 Up when consumers perceived both as similar.

The easiest way to end the confusion is to sideline the brand. 7 Up was thus sidelined for almost 8 years. In 2007-08, the company began to look into this brand. A new theme was prepared to take the brand away from Fido Dido and focus on another theme. The brand took the tagline " Bheja Fry, 7 Up try " which talked about the refreshing feeling of Seven Up . The campaign featured many Bheja Fry situations and how 7 Up can lift your spirits in those occasions.

This summer saw the extension of this theme. Pepsico realized that Lime Juice was the largest selling drink and most favorite flavor among Indians. So it started to pitch 7 Up as " The Lemon Drink " . The brand had the new tagline " Mood ko do Lemon ka Lift ".

In 2009, Pepsico launched another brand Nimbooz which is a drink having the original lemon juice taste. Nimbooz is launched as a brand endorsed by 7 Up.Nimbooz has been launched with the tagline " Ek Dum Asli Indian ". The brand is trying to compete with the ordinary lemon juice which is one of the favorite thirst quencher of Indian consumers. The question remains as to why a unsuccessful brand is used to endorse a new brand ?

The new launch is going to be further problematic for 7 Up. 7 Up has recently pitted for associating itself with Lemon Flavor. Now Nimbooz is saying that it is the original lemon drink. One is artifical and other is original .

What ever be the argument of the marketers, consumers seldom see the difference between a cloudy drink, a clear drink, artifical, flavored etc etc. These micro segmentation actually confuses consumers and force them to go for the simplest solution. Sprite became the largest selling beverage brand because it was simple for consumer to understand what that brand did.

Keep it Simple please.....