Out of the Blue, It Would Appear That South East Asia Is Having A Real Big Summer.

You know that saying ... "wherever you go, there you are?"

Well, I would like to amend that.   It should be "wherever you go, there you are and also, there is Pepsi."

Two things have a stronghold on SEA culture and branding like I have never seen.  The first is 7 Eleven. Here, a 7 Eleven is a grocery store, liquor store, restaurant, landmark and local hang out.   They are everywhere.  Whoever brought 7 Eleven to Thailand and all of South East Asia is a very, very rich person.  

The second thing that has a tight grip on marketing and general brand presence is Pepsi.

This is humorous to me because in total, I - and so very many of my former work colleagues - have spent years of my life thinking about this brand.  I've thought about market penetration, building consumer affinity, consumer messaging and incentives, loyalty programs, the tone and beat of music used in brand advertisement, celebrity talent filters, brand filters, the exact PMS colors for the the red, white and Pepsi blue used in the brand marks, how someone holds a can as to not cover the text (three fingers vs two) and, I've even thought about the noise the can makes when you open it.

So, as I left the USA, pushing thoughts of work - past, present and future out of my mind - you can imagine my surprise when everywhere I went, there Pepsi was.  I couldn't believe it.  I wanted to yell out to people holding a Pepsi.  "Are you living for now?"  "How's your summer going?  Is it real?  Is it big?"

I laughed with every new street corner that was branded Pepsi because it. is. everywhere.  You couldn't have more brand visibility if you tried.  Big glossy ad placements abound but so does signage in smaller, rural locations.  So, below are a few of the highlights, proving that everywhere I've been (literally everywhere) every single person, village, and hillside stand seems to be, out of the blue, living for now and having a real big summer.  

It began simply enough, with product for sale... everywhere.

It began simply enough, with product for sale... everywhere.

But then entire restaurants were decorated in banners, using them as wall hangings and table cloths.

But then entire restaurants were decorated in banners, using them as wall hangings and table cloths.

When I went to the tunnels of Cu Chi outside of Ho Chi Minh there was a gift shop.  This was for sale.

When I went to the tunnels of Cu Chi outside of Ho Chi Minh there was a gift shop.  This was for sale.

I was looking down, reading and waiting for the BTS (elevated train) in Bangkok and then when the train arrived... I looked up.

I was looking down, reading and waiting for the BTS (elevated train) in Bangkok and then when the train arrived... I looked up.

I sailed down the Mekong River in Laos and passed small villages.

I sailed down the Mekong River in Laos and passed small villages.

I rode a tuk tuk through the countryside of Laos.

I rode a tuk tuk through the countryside of Laos.

I visited the Kuang Si waterfall and bear sanctuary outside of Luang Prabang.

I visited the Kuang Si waterfall and bear sanctuary outside of Luang Prabang.

I spent a few days in Hanoi.

I spent a few days in Hanoi.

And I also ventured to a famous grouping of rocks in Koh Samui.

And I also ventured to a famous grouping of rocks in Koh Samui.

And finally, after I climbed a few hundred steps for a wonderful vista in Luang Prabang, I decided to head to the night market.

And finally, after I climbed a few hundred steps for a wonderful vista in Luang Prabang, I decided to head to the night market.