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Case study on product life cycle of Pepsi
Submitted by:
Samia irshad
Ansa sohail
Nazish shahid
Anmol sajid
Iqra sajid
Submitted to:
prof Anam Rizvi
Product life cycle of Pepsi
This post is a business case study on Pepsi's product life cycle.
This is a valuable tool for marketers to manage the product as
it progresses through its life cycle. Managers are encouraged
to anticipate industry changes and have strategies in place for
each stage it promotes a proactive planning approach.
There are five key stages of product life cycle:
1) Pre-launch
No sales and profit are made because the product is still in
2) Introduction
initial sales are made to innovators, consumers who enjoy
trying new products, but these are insufficient to recuperate
development costs.
3) Growth
sales being to increase rapidly as the product gains
popularity among the early majority. It is at this stage that
profits are first generated.
4) Maturity
this is the longest stage and generates the majority of a product’s
sales and profits from the late majority. To ‘milk’ the product for as
much profit as possible, extension strategies are often implemented
to pro-long the maturity stage.
5) Decline
eventually all products stop selling, such as VHS tapes. As
expected, sales begin to decline until the product is no longer
At each stage, marketers should adapt their marketing strategies to
the external changes in the market place. Let’s take a look at
how PepsiCo have used the product life cycle to successful grow
Pepsi into one of the most consumed drinks in the world.
Product life cycle of Pepsi
1) Pre-launch – the 1890s
In 1898, pharmacist Caleb Bdraham developed’ Brads Drink a
formula designed aid digestion. After strong interest from
consumers in his pharmacy, Brad renames the drink ‘Pepsi-Cola’
and purchases the trademark ‘Pep Cola’ for $100. The origins of
Pepsi are very similar to that of lucozada, which was also first
produced for medicinal purposes.
2) Introduction – 1902
Brad began selling Pepsi-Cola and achieved sales of
7,968 gallons of syrup in the first year
Brad aimed to generate initial awareness and trial of his
product, and far exceeded his targets!
Only a basic product was launched – Pepsi-Cola was
initially sold even without bottles. Instead the product
was sold through soda fountains located in Brad’s
A highly selective distribution is initially recommended, and
this is evident with Pepsi-Cola only launching in Brad’s
To generate awareness, a celebrity endorsement with race-car
driver Barney Oldfield (above) was utilized.
Initially a simple cost-plus pricing strategy was used. It is
likely that Pepsi-Cola started with a skimming strategy, to
quickly recuperate start-up costs.
Pepsi-Cola was not launched with any promotions. However, if
promotions are used at this stage they should aim to encourage
consumers to trial the product.
3) Growth – 1930s-1970s
After bankruptcy and then becoming acquired by Loft Inc.,
Pepsi-Cola’s sales sky-rocketed in the great
depression. Consumers were attracted by the value-formoney competitive positioning: 5 cents would buy
consumers 12 ounces of Pepsi-Cola, but only 6 ounces of
During growth, gaining market share is critical. Hence,
Pepsi-Cola was marketed aggressively against Coca-Cola to
encourage consumers to defect.
As the market becomes increasingly competitive it is
important to continually improve the product. Hence,
Pepsi-Cola now came in bottles, rather than just soda
To support the aim of gaining market share, the low price
penetration strategy was one of the key reasons why the
brand grew massively in this time period.
An extensive distribution network is needed to support
rapid sales growth; therefore exclusivity to pharmacies
ended and the product became a mainstream consumer
It is vital to capture the early majority stage, requiring
that advertising was designed to effectively reach a mass
audience. For example, Radio was selected as a medium
because of its low cost-per reach During this time, the
name was changed to just ‘Pepsi’ to help differentiate the
brand from Coca-Cola. Lastly, the 1975 Pepsi Challenge
marketing campaign was so effective it almost destroyed
the Coca-Cola brand!
Due to the overwhelming success of the drink, no sales
promotion was used given that the price was already
highly competitive and the company struggled to keep-up
with demand.
4) Maturity – 1980s – Present day
Since the 1980s Pepsi has been in the maturity stage of the
product life cycle, helping the parent company earn
almost $20 billion in annual revenue.
At this stage products are most profitable, which is why
PepsiCo are likely to consider Pepsi as a cash cow and aim
to make as much profit as possible from the brand.
A portfolio planning method that evaluates a company
strategic business unit in terms of its market growth rate
and relative market share SBU are a classified as star, cash
cows, question marks or dogs.
Star :
stars are high growth, high share business or products.
They often need heavy investment to finance their rapid
growth. eventually their growth will slow down and they
will turn into cash cow
Cash cow:
cash cow are low growth high share business are product. These
established and successful SBU need less investment to hold their
market share. Thus they produce a lot of cash that the company
use to pay its bill and support other SUB that need investment
Question marks.
Question mark are low share business unit in high growth
markets. they required a lot of cash to hold their share let alone
increase it.
dogs are low growth low share business and products. They may
generate enough cash to maintain themselves but do not promise
to be large source of cash.
Now that the product is well established, entire ranges can
be introduced that act as extension strategies to prolong the
most profitable stage of the product’s life.
PepsiCo and Coca-Cola clearly do not want to enter pricewars, which is a high risk during this very competitive
stage. As a result, the price rarely fluctuates away from the
market average.
The product now has a global distribution to penetrate
emerging economies.
The main focus of Pepsi’s advertising during maturity to
is to differentiate the brand. This has been mainly
achieved through the use of celebrity endorsement like
beyonce and michael jackson Beyonce to position the
product as a younger and edgier alternative to Coca-Cola
To keep consistent with the brand’s value-for-money
positioning, Pepsi frequently have both value increasing
and value adding offers. An example of the former is
offering larger bottle sizes – still to this day – than CocaCola; and the latter can be seen in the competitions
advertised on Pepsi’s bottles.
5) Decline – sometime in the future
Despite growing consumer interest in healthier lifestyles,
sales of Pepsi show no signs of slowing down in the
immediate future. Regardless of this, it is recommended that
PepsiCo have the following strategies ready to be
implemented in the event of the product entering decline.
Cost-reduction is key at this stage to help the brand remain
profitable despite generating fewer sales.
The range should become rationalized, and may be reduced
to just Pepsi to leverage economies of scale and minimize
The price could be reduced further to increase sales among
price-sensitive consumers and be an effective advertising
cue for this low involvement product.
The product now returns back to selective distribution to
focus efforts on just the few remaining outlets that
generate profits on Pepsi.
Advertising and Sales Promotion:
It can be recommended that PepsiCo could go as far as
completely cutting advertising and sales promotion to
further reduce overheads
In summary, the product life cycle of Pepsi is a
great business case study that both students and
managers can learn from. They key points to
remember are that marketing strategies need to be
ready for implementation, before the product
enters each phase of the life cycle, otherwise
opportunities are missed and the brand becomes
reactive to change.
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