The Soft Drink War to Capture Vietnam

All of the products in the picture below were served with dinner tonight in a restaurant in Buon Me Thuot, the unofficial capital city  of the central highlands of Vietnam.  Which one doesn’t belong in the group?

One correct answer is the 333 beer of Saigon, which I ordered.  What the others have in common is all of them are Pepsi products: (1) Aquafina water, (2) cheese-flavored, peanuts with a fish batter coating, and (3) Pepsi.

The picture illustrates the successful effort Pepsi is making to capture consumers in Vietnam — as well as Pepsi’s aggressive marketing in Vietnam since all of its products arrived at the table unsolicited (along with a menu supplied by and heavily laden with advertising for Budweiser).

Pepsi’s march into Vietnam has only just begun, and the photo I took last month of the giant Coke bottle in Ho Chi Minh City shows Pepsi’s principal soft drink rival is not to be outdone in this country.

In fact, both companies — Coca-Cola and PepsiCo — just announced plans for major investments in Vietnam.  Coke says it sill invest $300 million in Vietnam over the next three years to expand its presence in the form of Coca-Cola, Coke Light, Fanta, Sprite, Minute Maid, Samurai, Real Leaf and Dasani.

PepsiCo announced a new partnership with Japanese Suntory Holdings to grow its presence in Vietnam, which Pepsi deems a high priority market.

Vietnamese consumers respond well to American products and are likely to make both companies’ investments pay off in the long run.


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