Simon Lowden’s plans for Diet Pepsi have more local flavour,
Harriet Green says.
Simon Lowden, Pepsi UK’s marketing manager, is refreshingly upfront
about the dangers of pushing over-Americanised ads to a cynical UK
So, last week the US cola giant launched a quirky, distinctly British
campaign promoting its Diet Pepsi brand (Campaign, 11 July).
The three 20-second films, by Pepsi’s UK agency, Abbott Mead Vickers
BBDO, represent the first UK work behind the brand since 1993. The films
feature a girl so taken by the taste of her Diet Pepsi that she is
oblivious of the disasters happening around her.
The creative work may be new but the strategy isn’t. Lowden made sure
the UK work was written to a global brief. He says: ’If you are working
on a global brand you must have a global strategy. But you need to make
it appropriate for local markets. Over the past two years, advertising
in the UK has been slightly too American. It’s a sign of confidence that
this is an example of a major brand not taking its work from the US. The
new campaign doesn’t take itself too seriously.’
The UK has retained the American campaign idea down to the endline,
’This is Diet?’. The manner of execution, however, highlights the
difference between the two cultures - while the US work by BBDO New York
was slickly directed and ’cheesy’, as Lowden puts it, the UK campaign is
more obviously hammy in feel.
Lowden, 29, joined Pepsi a year-and-a-half ago to work across Pepsi,
Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max. He says: ’The cola market is very challenging
and we have a big competitor who consistently outspends us.’ As part of
recent promotions behind the brand, he has met Danni Minogue and the
Spice Girls (his four-year-old son apparently kissed Baby Spice).
Lowden started his marketing career at Unilever in 1989. As well as his
enthusiasm for Pepsi (he drinks Pepsi Max), it’s marketing that really
gets him excited. ’I love spending time with people who are passionate
about brands, seeing brand share go up and getting a buzz out of seeing
an ad you developed on air,’ he says.