I recently heard an episode of Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcast where he was talking with Pepsi’s head of advertising (I forget the exact title), guy named Todd Kaplan, and he was telling some fascinating stories about how Pepsi constructs a campaign, the execution of those campaigns, the things that come up to sabotage or fortuitously amplify a campaign’s effectiveness.
I was so dazzled by the conversation that I wanted, afterward, to hit up the dollar store across from my apartment to get a can of Pepsi and see how it tastes. I grew up in a Coca-Cola household and drank a fuckton of it and I remember that at one point, when I wasn’t long outta college, I’d gone like a month without drinking soda and then, when I had a can of Pepsi, I thought it was sweet and pleasant and, sure, different from Coke, but not necessarily inferior.
And I wondered if maybe I would have grown up to be a Pepsi purist if my parents had preferred it to Coke, if this had been the soda they’d stocked the fridge with.
Kurt Vonnegut soliloquized once, after World War Two, about the fact that, had his grandfather not emigrated to the United States some sixty years prior, he would probably have been fighting for the Nazis instead of the Allies.
Is that an appropriate comparison in considering whether or not my parents’ actions might have made me favor one soda over another? No it is not. Alas, it comes to mind.
But so I was thinking, after I heard that podcast with the Pepsi guy, “Y’know it’s been a minute since I had a Pepsi, and I remember kinda liking it, maybe I should go and have one.”
But I was only thinking of doing that because a Pepsi salesman had given me a good hour of entertainment. And the entertainment was free. Should I, a stranger some several thousand miles away from where the show was recorded, reward his charisma, his entertainment, by throwing a buck in his direction to buy a soda—which I will also enjoy?
Why do I feel like some kind of sheeple to have “fallen for” an hourlong conversation that was essentially perhaps just a commercial disguised as a conversation?