You might know that I spent a fortnight in the United States, particularly in the Tejas area for my honeymoon to Akon in 2004. While I was there, I mainly subsisted on vendor food, because refrigeration was, you know, something other people did, and we were at a convention centre and hotel. This gave me ample opportunity to become acquainted with the brands and types of soft drink distributed in the United States, because of course, they didn’t have anything I was familiar with.
Oh, they said they had Coke and Pepsi and Sprite, but they didn’t taste the same. They tasted awful – a byproduct, I think, of local sugar and caffeine rules, as opposed to what I was used to here in Australia.
One of the products that was sold, alongside Pepsi, was Pepsi Si. Fox and I bought some, to test, thinking perhaps Pepsi Si was Pepsi Max for a different nation. No – we tested the labels and found the ingredients to be identical. We taste tested the products, and found them to be identical as well. We finally broke and asked a local, where we were informed Pepsi Si was Pepsi’s product for Hispanics.
That is to say, the exact same product, but with ‘Yes’ in Spanish on the label.
I cannot decide if it’s terrible that this works (because it seems so shallow and meaningless and desperately embarassing for PepsiCo that they think Hispanic people will be appealed to by this) or more damningly, if it’s terrible that this works (because the Hispanic people are so oppressed in cultural hegemony that any expression of acceptance, even one as paltry as that, is an appreciated gesture).