School your customers

Tamara E. Holmes

Two years ago, in a bit of a marketing gamble, PepsiCo launched a massive campaign that would place it in the role of educator. Recognizing that Americans were becoming increasingly interested in health and wellness, the Purchase, N.Y.–based company began masking its product pitches with more instructive information on the benefits of nutritious foods. The program, called Smart Spot, was designed to help consumers choose healthier products while it subtly promoted PepsiCo-produced foods and beverages that met certain nutritional guidelines.

Today, more than 250 PepsiCo products sport a green Smart Spot stamp, which shows they contain at least 10 percent of the recommended daily value of a targeted nutrient, have specific health and wellness benefits, contain limited amounts of fat, sodium, and/or sugar, or also include healthier ingredients, such as whole grains. “The Smart Spot products grew at more than two and a half times the rate of the rest of our portfolio in 2005,” says Lynn Markley, vice president of public relations for health and wellness at PepsiCo. “Consumers are looking for healthier products. Clearly we're meeting the demand.”