PURCHASE, NY—PepsiCo sent shockwaves through the carbonated beverage industry Monday when the multibillion dollar corporation announced that it would cease all advertising of its popular soda product, effective immediately.
"We know it's good, and everyone's pretty happy with the overall taste, so why spend all our time worrying about what other people think?" PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi told reporters during a press conference at the company's corporate headquarters. "Frankly, it just feels sort of weird and desperate to put all this energy into telling people what to drink. If they don't like it, then they don't like it."
Added Nooyi, "That's not really any of our business anyway."
According to Nooyi, top PepsiCo brass held a series of meetings over the past several months before unanimously agreeing Monday that they all enjoyed Pepsi, and that the company's century-old history of massive, high-budget ad campaigns, cross-promotional tie-ins, merchandising, and Super Bowl halftime extravaganzas had been "a big mistake."
Executives then released a statement to shareholders declaring that PepsiCo is now "what it should have been all along: a company that just makes soda, and doesn't get caught up in trying to make everyone like it."
In response to a question about whether the elimination of Pepsi's marketing and advertising divisions would hurt the company's ability to compete with rival soda manufacturer Coca-Cola, Nooyi expressed no concern.
"Vying for the greatest market share shouldn't be a soft drink company's be-all and end-all," said Nooyi, who added that if she's happy at the end of the day, that's what really matters. "After all, it's not like this is some kind of Cola War or anything."
"Look, Coca-Cola is a terrific product," Nooyi continued. "Millions of people choose it over Pepsi every day. Are those people wrong? Of course not. Concepts like 'right' and 'wrong' shouldn't even apply. It's a soft drink."
Nooyi told reporters the company's $1.3 billion annual advertising budget would be put into Pepsi's savings account, spread among various charitable organizations, and divvied up into generous bonuses for the company's minimum-wage factory employees.
Claiming that "taste is subjective," Nooyi further stated that those who hadn't already heard of Pepsi were unlikely to begin drinking it now, and that the company was perfectly content to rely on word of mouth to sell its product.
"You can't taste an ad, anyway," Nooyi said. "People are going to make up their own minds regardless of whether we spend millions trying to inform them that Taylor Swift drinks Pepsi. I mean, seriously, does it really matter if Taylor Swift drinks Pepsi? She's just a human being like everybody else."
Concluding the press conference, Nooyi stated that she wasn't even sure why she was talking about any of this in the first place, asked the assembled reporters whether they didn't have better uses for their time, and suggested that everybody just go home, hug their loving spouses, and play—really, truly play—with their children before life passes them by.
"Hey, there's a slogan for you," Nooyi said. "Spend more time with your families."