How Pepsi Used Online Video to Turn its Toughest Critic into its Biggest Fan

Brands are seldom universally adored and content is seldom universally appreciated. Unless of course you’re Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake singing about the history of rap, in which case you’re pretty much guaranteed to win the Internet. Dealing with detractors and leveraging negative feedback to strengthen your image is a crucial part of brand management.

How Pepsi dealt with an irate blogger set the benchmark for how to turn your biggest critic into your biggest fan and maximize your brand’s earned media in the process.

Some of you probably saw the Pepsi Max spot featuring professional racer Jeff Gordon last year (if you haven’t – check it out here). As was to be expected, the Internet’s battalion of cynics labeled the video as fake, and one blogger in particular ravaged Jeff Gordon’s reputation.

And then, this happened.

Few brands are reckless enough to retaliate harshly to negative consumer feedback. While that is often a prudent stance to take, if you can get creative with your response – go for it. What Pepsi did was reopen the dialogue about its content and put its brand back in the spotlight. The video currently has over 13 million views.


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