Marketing Tava
May 24, 2008

I discovered that Pepsi is putting out some new products ... and I found their website and marketing concept REALLY interesting. For those of you not so interested in design - this is probably not a post for you.

The site is for Tava, a new drink which looks to want to capture a young and Latin market. Let me break down the site and marketing design.

Technology
The site is Flash, which definitely targets a younger audience as most oldsters don't want to mess with a fully Flash based site. It includes a nice amount of movement in order to keep attention focused whilst other parts of the site load - even the cursor develops a little "loading" icon when you've clicked something - and that little loading bit follows your cursor around the window. There's a nice MP3 player located at the bottom of the site - or, if you click the Music link, you'll get a better MP3 player that lets you make more choices.
All of this says, young, hip audience which has certainly been Pepsi's target audience from the beginning of their company advertising.

Look & Feel
The site is a nice, spicy red - taken from what they apparently consider the flagship flavour of this line - Mediterranean Fiesta. They make a nice use of the current trend toward the shiny reflection of product and the background area utilizes a really nice, understated background image in a darker or lighter version of the background red, depending on the image being shown. Those background images are particularly nice as they are simply "primitive design" icons - each one matching one of the products in this Tava line. The first one we see as the site loads corresponds with the flagship flavour, but as we navigate through the site and other flavours come to the forefront, the background also shifts and changes so we can see the iconic design for that particular flavour. The colours of the bottle labels pretty closely match the colour of the drink - I don't even wanna think about the artificial colours injected to achieve that effect.

The site is framed at the top and bottom with a wallpaper which utilizes a small version of the main Mediterranean Fiesta icon (which appears to also be the main logo for the product since it appears in a small form at the bottom of each bottle's label design). The wallpaper fades into a lighter, brighter red at the bottom of the page (to match the HTML background colour).

The links at the top of the Flash piece indicate the marketing emphasis: Products, Events, Music, Art. Again, given that Pepsi's campaigns always align themselves with "the young generation," this makes sense. Products is the first link since the main goal is to sell their new drink. But, the way they're going to do that is to align themselves with fresh, hip, new music ( and you can even download some of the music) and by using young or "edgy" art.

There's also a distinct graffiti/grunge feel to the site - and yet it's also a really nice, solid and clean design. I like to think that's a blending of the audience - grunge/grafitti - and tasteful design (and I think a lot, if not most, of the younger people targeted do want a clean design so they can find what they need from the site).

As you click each link, you get a little bit of nice movement and then the short, pithy phrases in the background change, keeping you visually occupied whilst the new portion of the site loads. Some of the sayings include:

  • "admire art history. experience art present."
  • "set your mind to shuffle."
  • "keep an eye out for the invisible"
  • "if you travel off the beaten path, you're on the right road."
  • "open the window of opportunity"
  • "what if you had never tried your favorite food?"
  • "sometimes it's good to let the world pass you by."
  • "cultivate yourself and see what grows."

These phrases seem to set a tone for trying something different, something edgy and creative. It's a bizarre and yet very slick mix of "hey, we're different just like you" and encouraging people to expand themselves.

Music
The site features a nice array of up and coming bands (yet another clue that the site is mostly targeting a younger audience). But the bands? I didn't hear a single one which sounded either international or Latin. When I went back and really looked at them for this post, I saw LA, Orange County, Vermont, NY (but in the UK now), Virginia and NY. With a product and a look which seem to cultivate a young, Latin following, I was really surprised to see NO Latin music here at all. Granted, I think Pepsi wants to market this product to everyone, but with this looking to compete with both Fanta and Jarritos for the Latin market, I was honestly shocked to not hear any Latin or even international music in this small line-up. Perhaps those bands are coming later when they see where the marketing is taking their demographic?

Edgy Art
Now, frankly, one person's edgy art is another person's kindergarten squiggles the way the phrase generally gets bandied about. In this particular case, Pepsi is leveraging "edgy" in a nice way. Just as the music is from "up and comers," the art also purports to be from up and comers. (I'm not sure Amy Guip is up and coming - she sounds pretty darn established to me - but her art does have an edge and a distinct style to it.) I only saw Amy Guip listed under Art and I found that curious. Did she design the site's look? The logos? The look of the bottle? I found nothing at all about her connection to Tava or the site except she's listed under Art. And she's the only artist listed there.

Why use multiple musicians but only one artist? I've got to say, if their little mottos are talking about exploration and experimentation and seeing the world around you - the use of a single visual artist seems ... well, rather stupid and inconsistent.

Product
The product looks like it's positioned to compete with both Fanta and Jarritos. With flavours like Mediterranean Fiesta, a black cherry citrus combo, Brazilian Samba, a passion fruit and lime combo, and Tahitian Tamure, a tropical berry blend - these certainly evoke the same feel as Fanta and Jarritos without actually copying their flavours wholesale.

In an effort to remain more hip and edgier than Fanta or Jarritos - possibly a nod to a kind of yuppy or up-and-comer demographic, Tava lists recommended food pairings for each drink. Honestly, I thought this was a pretentious wine-lover's nod, particularly in the way the copy is written here. For the Tahitian Tamure, the food pairing text goes like this:

Fruit forward, with a bold, round sweetness. The perfect fire-quencher. Try it with spicy food from warm weather climates. Suggested Food Pairings: Santa Fe Steak | Jamaican Chicken Wings

Interesting. Why suddenly leave hip and edgy behind for the stolid and rarefied air of wine terminology? "Fruit forward"??? Come on!

What I find really interesting, however, is the choice of the made-up word Tava evokes (in most Americans, at least) a Spanish feel. The spicy look of the site, says probably Latin America. The flavours are Mediterranean Fiesta, Brazilian Samba and Tahitian Tamure - two of which definitely evoke Latin America (with a flavour of Italy as well which maybe explains the wine phrasing?) and the third is from the South Pacific.

Conclusions
To me, the product and look seems to imply a Latin or somewhat international flavour. However, the music does not and the weird language on the Food Pairings section of each drink's description also give a mixed message. This speaks of an interesting inconsistency in a site/marketing theme that really looks cohesive and coherent and I have to admit I'm really confused by the music choices. Frankly, I think they ought to add Alejandro Florez and Ricardo Gallo to the music mix.

I've gotta admit, I'm impressed with the site and would love to know what design house came up with this concept. It's an intriguingly beautiful site. I'm wondering if some of the inconsistencies, however, don't come from some Pepsico executive deciding to use bands and artists they'd already signed rather than purposefully select bands for this demographic. All that said, I'm curious to see how this works for them - I find it a very intriguing site and strategy.

Posted by Red Monkey at May 24, 2008 1:53 PM | Design | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

 

Claire said:

wiffle waffle wiffle,

ooohhh pretty shiny site!

:)

In conclusion it was a well thought out post and I thought the site was rather cool :)

(okay I least pretended to read most of it)

May 24, 2008 3:23 PM

 

Maria said:

The music there was really great!

May 24, 2008 9:38 PM

 

PandoraWilde said:

I mostly liked the site--and it does make me want to try the cherry and citrus one. The only thing I truly disliked was the music, but that's me--I can count the number of albums recorded after 1990 that I own on one hand.

Very cool website though--is it one of yours?

May 25, 2008 3:57 PM
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