During 1992, Pepsi launched a promotion in the Philippines to compete against Coca Cola in the region, as a result of which it lost millions of dollars, brand presence and even sparked clashes in that country.
During the 1990s, Pepsi decided to launch a promotion in the Philippines that led to riots, class action lawsuits and even deaths. The main objective of the contest was to compete Coca Cola in sales; however, things did not go well.
Special Number Fever Bottle
Under the name of “Number Fever” a contest was held that revolutionized a nation due to high rates of poverty those years.
At the end of 90s, Coca Cola used to acquire 75 percent of the Philippine market, so Pepsi began its promotional offer and flooded the traditional media (radio, television and press) with advertisements. With a very specific slogan: “Today you could be a millionaire!”
By the influence of the campaign, thousands of people came forward to buy bottles of Pepsi, Mountain Dew or 7 Up. After the passage of weeks, the result of the contest was announced, at the bottom of the bottle cap there was a three-digit number which awarded cash prizes that ranged from one thousand pesos (1500 rupees) to one million Philippine pesos (15 lakh rupees) that was for a single winner.
With the help of this promotion, Pepsi’s sales raised to nearly 40 percent. As a result, the company decided to increase the number of prizes winners to 1,500. At the time that the promotion period was about to end, it was estimated that 31 million consumers had participated in the promotional offer, that is, more of half the population.
Result Day or Riot Day?
The winning number was announced on May 25, 1992, which was 349; This is where the serious problem began, something that not only destroyed the campaign and the rise of the brand but also led to legal issues, conflicts and confrontations.
It turns out that there were 800,000 caps with that wining number, so tens of thousands of Filipinos went to claim the promised award. Due to the lack of control, conflicts between the company and consumers ascended, at least 22 thousand people jointly filed around 700 civil cases for damages, fraud and deception. Among other numbers, two people dead.
The economic impact for Pepsi was that, from having an initial budget of 2 million dollars for the payments of the prizes, it turned into more than 10 million dollars in compensation as well as legal expenses.