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While the Cricket World Cup has been long been done with and our company,PepsiCo has moved on and resumed to displaying a new advertising campaign,we still have live links available for the controversial advertisement lurking on the world wide web.From a marketer’s standpoint,these ads have served their original purpose of targeting the youth and young adults alike across a wide demographic in India.These ads would have also been repetitively played throughout the duration of the cricket tournament,which spanned months.Considering that they have met their frequency caps and have been viewed by a large number of eyeballs,there is absolutely no requirement for this advertisement to be continued to be freely available on the Internet.
As marketers,we are aware of the impact of word of mouth marketing and the viral effect that spreads across social networks.The connectivity of the Internet has made it easier to reach a larger than intended audience and in a much faster way(Thackeray et al,2008).Although this advertisement has been aired over a year ago,online conversations and viewership numbers continue to pose a threat since the video is freely available on YouTube.Moreover,this could spill on to other mediums such as online forums,message boards,chat rooms,blogs,social networking sites,etc(Goldsmith,2006).As much as we have a duty to tear down billboards,posters and radio jingles long after a campaign is over,we also need to remove such associated content from the Internet.
Moreover,we must question what value addition is this video remnant bringing to Pepsi’s marketing strategy?Old videos do not generate new content,nor do they help in creating new communities or provide any unusual opportunities for marketing(Parise and Guinan,2008).In fact,having this video around on the Internet would only lead to confusing our target audience,muddling brand messaging and communications.If our intention is to release a new advertising campaign each year,or at the beginning of the next cricket tournament in India,we cannot have any leftover video ads from the 2011 Cricket World Cup available for the public to view.Ethically speaking,this can wrongfully influence consumers,misleading them to believe the propositions and message of the‘Change the Game’2011 advertisement.Data has shown that India is only marginally behind USA,UK and China in terms of video influencing their decision to buy a product(Gilfoil and Jobs,2011).
Although it is understandable why the cola giants are banking on popular culture and cricket to connect to Indian consumers,at the same time,we must be responsible brand marketers and adhere to the moral and ethical guidelines as laid out by our peers and luminaries in advertising associations.Advertisements almost encompass an authoritative figure in society–ambassadors become role models,children emulate what advertisements depict,messages become a part of popular culture(Balkas,2006).As much as business ethics are of importance in today’s competitive age,it is also pertinent to uphold the values and principles of advertising practices.