January 22nd, 2009

Pepsi "Yes We Can" campaign may be crass, but is it effective?

by sage island

David Kiley of Business Week’s advertising blog, Brand New Day, wrote a post about Pepsi’s new ad campaigns, which capitalize on the current feeling of hope that is spreading across America following Barack Obama’s Presidential win. The ads use President Obama’s campaign slogan “Yes We Can” to evoke the feelings of hope and inspiration that led Americans to vote for him.

pepsi-ads

Kiley calls the ads a miss. “Call me cranky,” he writes, “but I don’t think an advertiser should lift this phrase for its own use, and especially not launch the campaign right around the inauguration. This is a special time in America—difficult and historic. This ad and its language comes off as a ripoff. Not an homage, but a ripoff. And it cheapens the ad and the campaign. It makes Pepsi look crass.”

Granted, I am a tried and true Diet Pepsi drinker. As all of my co-workers will attest to, if you try to come between me and my Diet Pepsi, we’ve got problems. While I agree that taking a phrase that has so inspired America and putting it on a soda can is a bit cheap, I can’t help but feel that the campaign works. We’re talking about it, aren’t we?