Monday, November 05, 2007

Pepsi-Cola Chief Dawn Hudson Exits Following Reorg

Food-and-Beverage Giant Dissatisfied as North America Weakens

And it's about time. Dawn Hudson and Indra Nooyi knew long ago, exactly at the time I created the concept of Baked Lays Potato Chips (sold $310 million in first ten months domestically) that in the US people want a combination of high health and high pleasure in foods, positioning and communications messaging. What's healthier than fried chips? Baked Chips. Which chips are most fun? Lays. So there it is. Baked Lays. I did the same combination creating Healthy Choice in the early eighties for ConAgra when I learned this adroit truth for the first time - supplying the agency creatives with the ammunition they needed to launch a multi-billion dollar brand. But Dawn's major US initiative was "health and wellness" headed up by VP fiend Patty Wolff. So given that they already had the answer, how'd they miss the boat? Blame it on Indra Nooyi. At the time I launched Baked Lays, Indra insisted people just wanted lower calories and less fat. So she launched Wow! Chips with olestra (a P&G supplier idea) that couldn't even fill the pipeline with $29 million worth of product. And in beverages, they just keep slipping below the zero calorie line. Can you have a beverage that provides negative calories? That's part of identifying future consumption drivers in soft drinks.

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