In a very quick survey last night , I asked people to choose between four very popular brands – Coca-Cola versus Pepsi and Milo versus Bournvita
While I wasn’t surprised at the result that came out for the Cocoa beverage, that of the fizzy drink shocked me to my bone marrow.
Milo defeated very soundly Bournvita by nearly 98% of respondents while Pepsi dusted Coca Cola by over 70%
I remained in shock because I am a Coca-Cola person believing that after our heavenly father Jesus Christ, Coca Cola was the next best thing that had happened on planet Earth.
Over 300 people took the survey, and their age demographics ranged between 28 to 65. They had very strong purchasing power and are literate with cognitive access to media.
Reasons adduced to the complete wipe out of Bournvita by Milo include loss of brand positioning, quality, taste, and brand colors, amongst others
One respondent who is a top government functionary in one of the SW States and a veteran accountant talked about the Bunmi Oni Saga
For most of you who don’t know, Cadbury was a major multinational that was run by expatriates. It was a wonderful place to work and deal with and was one of the blue chips listed on the stock exchange.
It was very profitable and had some of the highest corporate governance and all.
Then, they had an indiginization policy bringing Nigerians into the mix. It started out well with people like Gamaliel Onosode and Christopher Kolade holding the forth very well with their superior leadership, which impressed all.
Then, someone thought up a brilliant idea. They now made it a mecca for Government College Ibadan old boys. So if you are an old boy, the first place to go get a job was Cadbury.
That is how Bunmi Oni emerged as MD. Cadbury suffered and ran into a multi-billion Naira scandal. It made national news.
I don’t think the place ever recovered as this affected all facets of its life. The few good hands were poached, the marketing of its products suffered mayb cos of lack of funds to push innovative media campaigns, quality dropped, and as someone will say, she stopped tasting the cocoa.
Furthermore, another person thought up a good idea of changing the colors and adding a touch of purple, which iritated the children who now moved in droves to Milo.
On the floor of the stock exchange, the price of its shares took very severe beating, unlike that of Milo, which was a blue chip trading at the same dizzying heights with Total and Mobil
While Bournvita was going thru this, Milo was witnessing a resurgence. The huge factory in Ogun State was opened, more money was lumped into R&D, and the colors of rich green aligned with Nigerians
As one respondent said, Nigerians simply love green. Our national football team was Green Eagles till very recently, and their colours still remain green.
80% of our national flag is green, and we aligned . Milo allighned itself with our sporting aspirations. They were the ‘food drink of future champions’
Who will forget that their iconic advert – Milooo pa pa pa Milo PA pa pa. That was the refrain in every sporting arena nationwide.
The fact that they didn’t do football, which has an ocultic followership in Nigeria, but did lesser sports like basketball and athletics didn’t stop them from leading the cocoa beverage roost on FaceTime and market popularity
Finally, Milo just tastes better. Cos of the financial crunch at Cadbury, as mentioned earlier, quality dropped. You didn’t feel the richness of the cocoa in the drink anymore, and it tasted almost bitter.
The market reacted violently. Children didn’t care for logic they just wanted a sweet and rich cocoa drink at the breakfast table, and they wanted to feel like champions on their way to school.
Another mistake was Bournvita going for their brains. They did debates, quizzes, and all of that brainy stuff.
If you have done your research, you will see that at the primary and secondary level, the brainards were in the pitifull minority. They were derided and called all sort of names – effico, SU, Aje butter, etc
People didn’t like them. They were not considered cool and, as such, mostly ignored.
It is at the point of WAEC that you start wanting to be like them. But at lower levels, they were bullied and not wanted to be seen on the fields of play or in social circles.
So, building a brand on that minority grouping, although altruistic, wasn’t going to cut it. That position targeted the parents, and you know, in that market, it was the kids who had the power.
The same thing killed Cortina Shoes. The parents loved it, but you will be yabbed to death in school if you were caught in them.
I used to throw mine away just before entering the boarding school dormitory and make do with old ‘cool sandals.
So, that Bournvita is literally dead as a brand is no longer news.
What news is that Pepsi took a beating to my Coca-Cola. Oh my God, I am still in shock.
Coca Cola is the king. Its taste is right, and you really can not beat the feeling
So you can imagine my rude shock at the result of this survey.
A lot of people alluded to taste and campaigns. Pepsi has been very strategic with leveraging on iconic figures globally.
Here in Nigeria, they have stayed true to very strong figures like Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, and Wizkid, all of whom have very powerful followerships
They have leveraged music, sports, and the devilishly popular Big Brother Nigeria franchise to aggressively penetrate the market.
Pepsi is now considered cool as they have aligned with Music, which is a massive force in the young demographic in the country
But despite all of these, I never believed that Pepsi would take the beating to Coca Cola in this representative survey.
Coca-Cola, to say the least, has been everywhere in their marketing. A little bit of this and a little bit of that seems to be their strategy.
Even the xmas campaigns that used to leave every body glued to the screen are now tired .
There’s nothing to look forward to. The issues they had with quality control at some point also not helping matters.
The growing consciousness of the people on the ills of the sugar content also affects both brands, but Pepsi looks like riding it better…
If this result is anything to go by, then we can safely say that the next generation that is the 9 year old to the 18year old may not have the sweet pleasure of a coke and a smile by the time they hit their 20s
Joseph Edgar knows as Duke of Shomolu is the Editor in Chief of Thealvinreport.com