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5 people lost their lives in that advertisement of Pepsi

The marketing department of different organizations uses different strategies to promote the product. Some of these strategies bring success to the organization. Again, some strategies died on the field. In 1992, however, the popular beverage company PepsiCo used its strategy to promote its drink in the Philippines, leading to a riot that left at least five people dead. What was that strategy? Why or riot?

In February 1992, PepsiCo launched a lottery campaign called Fever in the Philippines (PCPPI). In the campaign, the company prints numbers from 001 to 999 inside the caps of their drinks such as Pepsi, Seven-Up, Mountain Dew and Mirinder bottles. In contrast to some of these numbers, the company announces awards every night on TV. The prizes ranged from 100 pesos (equivalent to about ড 4 in 1992) to 1 million pesos (about হাজার 40,000 at the time). Pepsi has allocated about ২ 2 million for this lottery.

Marketing expert Pedro Vergara’s strategy was a huge success for Pepsi. Because such campaigns were successful in many businesses throughout Latin America. At the same time, it was such a response among Filipinos that Pepsi’s market share jumped from 4 percent to 25 percent overnight.

However, after the night of May 25, 1992, it took the opposite turn. That night ABS-CBN announced the number of Channel Two Grand Prizes. Which was 349. At the time, PepsiCo strictly controlled the Grand Prix-winning bottle caps. A security code was also distributed to the two bottles, confirming the cap with the winning number printed that day. However, due to a computer error on that day, the number 349 was printed on the cap of 6 lakh bottles. Which had no security code. Theoretically, those bottle caps were worth 32 billion.

However, those 8 lakh winning bottle caps are not real winners as they do not have safety codes. However, a large number of people have heard of Pepsi. Panicked by the situation, Pepsi executives called a meeting at 3 p.m. At the meeting, it was decided to give a consolation prize of 500 pesos (about ৮ 18) for the wrong cap. Although 4,7,160 people accepted it, it was a loss-making decision for Pepsi. Pepsi had set aside ২ 2 million for the campaign, with a consolation prize of 240 million pesos, or about ৯ 9.9 million.

Meanwhile, many were reluctant to accept the decision of Pepsi. They were so angry with Pepsi that they formed 349 alliances. The coalition has staged protests and lawsuits, including a boycott of Pepsi products. Although most of the protests were peaceful, protesters hurled grenades at a Pepsi warehouse in Davao. Three PCPPI employees were killed. Meanwhile, on 13 February 1993, a mother and child were killed when a grenade was thrown at a Pepsi truck in Manila. PCPPI executives were also threatened with death. And about 36 trucks were damaged by being hit by stones or burned.

About 22,000 people took legal action against PepsiCo at the time. At least 69 civil cases and 5,200 criminal charges were filed for fraud. A court ordered the plaintiffs to pay 10,000 pesos each as “moral damages”. Three of them appealed again and were asked to pay 30,000 pesos. Pepsi then appealed against that decision. In 2008, 14 years after the initial incident, the Supreme Court ruled that Pepsi was not responsible for the misrepresentation of prizes or further damages.

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