Earlier this week, my wife went for her post-Christmas shopping extravaganza at our local Target store armed with my credit card and wide eyes and dreams of big deals.
When she came home to me watching the kids, imagine my surprise when she pulled something from the bag that got me excited.
What was this amazing and captivating item? It was a Pepsi Cola can?
If you haven’t seen them yet, Pepsico has produced two throwback cans this holidays season. One is the classic red, white and blue can I grew up with and the other is the down-home country bumpkin Mountain Dew can. Each is for a limited time only and includes soda made with – hold your hat – real sugar. That’s right, not corn syrup like all soda is today. Instead, it’s truly old school using pure cane sugar.
The term throwback isn’t new, of course. All three major league sports leagues – the NFL, MLB and NBA – coined the phrase when they learned us fans would fork over a premium to buy old jerseys from our team’s yesteryear. I, for one, have several ranging from my brown “Taco Bell” 1984 San Diego Padres Steve Garvey jersey, to my 1963 Lance “Bambi” Alworth Chargers jersey.
Other marketing departments at big brands have recognized that we all love to reminisce about days long ago. Days when we were skinnier, happier, and younger.
As a marketer, I am fascinated by this. Brands often move forward to keep up with the times to only run “throwback” promotions that create demand and new excitement for their products. For those that lived them originally, they bring back good memories. For those that don’t remember them, the nostalgia and “newness” of the old branding is exciting.
In the case of Pepsi, I have to wonder Â it’s a test too. With many people now demanding products made with natural products, is this a test ballon wrapped in a nostalgic wrapper? Could the minds at Pepsi being testing us? 7-up changed back to original and all natural ingredients a few years ago and sales have been up a bit.
I am not sure but it’s very interesting to me when companies go back to old labels or brands. It also makes me wonder more and more why we – as consumers – insist good brands with good products change their visual marketing to please us. Why should we demand change if the product continues to be all that we remember?
I for one would love soda, which we know will never be healthy, to go back to its original natural ingredients. That way when we do splurge, we know it’s not on high fructose corn syrup.
But one day, perhaps my kids will be writing a blog post on how they miss HFCS. Can you imagine?