Jeff Gordon Returns! Drive to the Max for Pepsi – Part Two

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A year ago Pepsi Max released a video with racing champion Jeff Gordon. In it, the company disguised NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon as “Mike,” just an average guy test-driving a new car with an unsuspecting salesman. It quickly went viral and has gained more than 47 million views ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5mHPo2yDG8).

The video was the subject of some controversy; its authenticity was questioned by many, most notably by automotive journalist Travis Okulski of Japolnik.com. The unsuspecting writer found himself on a very real drive with Jeff Gordon, disguised as an ex-con taxi driver.

The videos are a big hit for Pepsi Max and illustrate the product’s tag line of “a zero-calorie cola in disguise.” As a product in the mature stage of its product life cycle, Pepsi brings a sound strategy to making its beverages relevant to a younger market.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. In which does Pepsi fit?
2. Discuss how products can maintain market share in the maturity stage. What tactics work best? What happens in the competitive space?
3. Pepsi’s Jeff Gordon video: http://youtu.be/dRIgmKGDqFM
4. Divide students into groups: Have each group develop a tactic that could be used for a product in each of the product life cycle stages.
5. Follow-up in the next class with the students. Ask how many posted it on their Facebook pages or showed it to friends. Use this information to demonstrate just how videos go viral.

Source: Ad Age Daily, Brandchannel.com, Washington Post, additional news sources.

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