Imagine you buy a lottery ticket and actually win the lottery, you'd probably be jumping up and down with joy celebrating a newfound fortune. You'd call up all your friends and family, think of all the ways you could spend the prize money, ring up your creditors and tell them you're finally paying them off. But what if the very next day they tell you there's been a mistake and you actually aren't going to get the money that you've rightfully won? Because they would be angry would be an understatement.
This is how thousands of people in the Philippines failed with Pepsi's no fever. Gambin, this is a dog. And welcome back to another episode of Latouche on. The story is about perhaps the deadliest marketing campaign in history, which serves as a cautionary tale for brands today. The culture wars are a global phenomenon. Pepsi and Coca-Cola go head to head in every market in the world. Coca-Cola came to the Philippines in 1912, while Pepsi only entered the market in 1989.
Obviously, Coca-Cola had already established its domination in the country and held over 75 percent of the market share.
Pepsi, on the other hand, wasn't doing so well. Determined to bring its rival down. Pepsi launched its infamous No Fever campaign in 1992. Now, this was a campaign that was extremely successful in the U.S. The idea was simple. You buy a bottle of Pepsi on the underside of the bottle cap. There's a three digit number. If you're lucky, the three digit number is called out on the nightly TV show and you win some cash. Anything between one hundred to a million Bessus Sweet write an algorithm was created to ensure the cash prizes would not exceed two million dollars, which is the budget for the whole promotion.
The response was phenomenal in the first two weeks itself.
Sales were up by 40 percent. Consumers were buying the soft drink and holding gaps like it was treasure. There were people rummaging through garbage on the streets looking for the numbered gaps, and maids were caught stealing the scene from homes they worked at, in fact, to Pepsi. Salespersons were murdered following a dispute over these bottle caps.
It was pure mania. Pepsi's market share went up to twenty five percent in just a few weeks. Half the population of the country had purchased the product to participate in the game. Everyone was trying their luck. The campaign was being hailed as the most successful promo in the world. Things were going exceedingly well until it wasn't towards the end of the gambin. Pepsi finally announced a number that would win the grand prize of a million Tesla's. The number was three four nine three forty nine.
Now, the plan was to just have two bottle caps that read three forty nine. But as it turned out, the company printed about it, lack of them. We're not sure what happened there, but Pepsi blames it on a computer software glitch. Thousands of people thought the lights are going to change that night. People were ecstatic. A million dollars is a lot of money, especially in a country that's stricken with homelessness and poverty. If you're too lazy to do the math, it's a little over philanthropy's.
And back in 1992, the number was worth a lot more than it is today. Thousands of people began turning up at Pepsi plants around the country in hopes of claiming their prize. That's when Pepsi figured that made a huge blunder. If they paid each reneau, it would cost them about thirty two billion dollars, which was equivalent to half the GDP of the Philippines at the time. So they give each claimant a small token prize of five hundred, which is a far cry from the one million parcels they were expecting.
Naturally, they were not thrilled. People felt cheated for three months straight. They spent their hard earned money buying the drink. Collecting the bottle caps will need to be told it was all inline. Protests were held outside the Pepsi factories, which turned into riots. Bricks were thrown through Pepsi's office windows. Trucks were set on fire. Death threats were sent. A grenade was thrown into the factory that took the life of three employees. Pepsi's market share dipped once again.
The marketing campaign had turned into a complete fiasco. Ten thousand people with that winning capped no filed lawsuits against the company. Pepsi was embroiled in court battles for over a decade. The last case was shut in 2006. Fourteen years after the promotions started. Finally, the court ruled in favor of the cola giant.
Although the court battles went on for years, Pepsi sales normalized after the protests died down. This goes to show just how resilient some brands can be. The company compensated about a half million people for a total of ten million dollars, which was way over their initial two million dollar budget. But all's well that ends well for Pepsi. Who got out of the whole mess scot free.