Just before bed one night an advert came on the TV for Pepsi which featured exciting young things surfing with neon boards in the middle of the night in what would obviously be freezing sea.
"Make new traditions" the ad concluded. It's sort of a tacit admission that Pepsi can't compete on Christmas fizzy drinkness with Coca Cola which has the modern image of Santa as some stupid trucks delivering pop every year at the core of its brand. Pepsi, in brand terms, is always the second one you think of.
I tweeted a thing which has often occurred to me that Pepsi should use this underdog thing a lot more, particularly in the UK because we love a bit of self-deprecation here. We're the third best at it in the world.
Why does Pepsi never advertise using its official UK slogan as used by all British pub landlords?— Ian Potter (@ianzpotter) December 19, 2018
"It's Pepsi. Is that alright?"
Responses were a lot faster and more plentiful than I'm used to. I primarily tweet to quite a small group of people but I soon realised what was happening because it happened similarly but on a larger scale to a good friend earlier this year.
The main difference is her tweet was actually very funny and very her.
Dear Amazon, I bought a toilet seat because I needed one. Necessity, not desire. I do not collect them. I am not a toilet seat addict. No matter how temptingly you email me, I'm not going to think, oh go on then, just one more toilet seat, I'll treat myself.— Jac Rayndeer (@GirlFromBlupo) April 6, 2018
You can read her response to going viral here. It mirrors mine but is better, like she is, and I am apparently Pepsi to her Coke.
The main thing I've learned from the experience is how unpredictable and unplannable going "viral" is (only in retrospect did I realise talking about big brands has a mass appeal I never normally reach for). I'm sure there are key times of day to tweet and all the rest of it if you want this kind of thing but it seems to me there's a lot of luck in how the snowball rolls down hill.
I've also learned how overwhelming a wall of replies can be, blocking out other communication for hours.
I think this may go someway to explaining why some famous people on Twitter end up either really quite weird or virtually unresponsive- they must get this noise constantly and there's no great way to deal with the volume.
I've also noticed quite a lot of people seem to have read the tweet as a personal attack on Pepsi which is odd because I'm a soda water with ice and lemon man, and have very little truck with any colas (holidays are coming, holidays are coming). That seems to confirm just how common confirmation bias is to me (ha, ha, I am clever).
Beyond that, responses boil down to people telling me-
The observation is accurate.
The phrase is universal but with some regional variants.
They work in a bar and the staff there recite it like a mantra.
This would be a good advertising approach (I agree).
It has actually been done in Brazil (well done, Pepsi Brazil people).
Someone else has thought this before.
I probably should have said bar staff not landlords.
Bar staff habitually use the phrase to avoid being accused of passing off one product as its competitor.
Which of the broadly indistinguishable drinks they prefer.
I'd like to reply to about half of them but there isn't time (I have Christmas presents to wrap- holidays are coming, holidays are coming). If any of you happen on this blog, I am genuinely grateful for your replies (unless you were a bit strange, but if you were I doubt you'll realise).
Another friend, Alistair McGown suggested this morning the tweet's unexpected popularity may be down to a Russian plot to destabilise cola brands and thus the entire US way of life. He may be right- it will also explain why Jac 'Coke' Rayner's anti Amazon tweet is 7 times more impossibly popular than mine. Curse her.