It was like a little earthquake last summer for all branding gurus who claim you should never change your brand name. To this date – especially for all big international brands the rule was: never change your name in spelling and pronunciation! One brand in all markets!
And Pepsi did just the exact opposite. It changed its brand name in Argentina to “Pecsi”.
There is even an official Pepsi, sorry Pecsi website about pronunciation and it reflects in a humorous way how people from Argentina pronounce english words in a different way, e.g. “Rocanroll”, “Daunlos”.
Now the earth is shaking for all those “one world – one brand” believers: Pepsi promotes the pronunciation “Pesi” in Spain.
Based on the fact that many Spanish speakers can pronounce the brand’s name more easily and phonetically without that second “p” Pepsi is now “Pesi” in Spain. In a new commercial Spanish soccer star Fernando Torres gets fed up when the director keeps correcting the way he says “Pesi” on camera.
As in Argentina, the overall message in Spain is, “Do you say ‘Pepsi’ or ‘Pesi’? If you say ‘Pepsi,’ it’s correct. If you say ‘Pesi,’ it’s even better. It doesn’t matter how you say it, you are saving either way.” Based on their experience in Argentina the change has paid off: “Changing Pepsi to Pecsi was a way of gaining closeness [to the consumer] and transcending a mere value message,” said Ramiro Rodriguez Cohen, a BBDO Argentina creative director (Source).
Like in Argentina Pepsi created an unique website lodigascomolodigas (spanish for “You say it like you say it”) for this change of name.
Looking at this case from a Voice Branding perspective the question is: does it help the brand? And moreover what will happen in the medium and long run to the brand? Will it loose brand power or gain?