How important is your message? How important is the perception of your customer? Pepsico provided a stunning answer to these questions.
Rumors began circulating that a can of Mountain Dew was found with a mouse in it. According to the rumor, the soda had turned the mouse to jelly. Pepsi needed to calm people and assure them that they didn’t need to worry about finding a mouse in their soda. The message they wanted to get out was that they knew this was a hoax and there was nothing to worry about. How could Pepsico be so sure the story was fake. According to the company, “if a mouse got into a can of Mountain Dew, it would dissolve completely.”
What was the customer reaction to this statement. Generally it was “yuck” or something much less printable. How could a company think this is a good message to put out?
The news of the response got more press coverage than the rumor did. Consumers have universally had thoughts about how disgusting the idea of Mountain Dew dissolving mice was. By not paying enough attention to how their message would be received, they did more harm than good.
How important was the message that the mouse story was a hoax? It was very important. How important was the customer perception? Much more important. Perception is the let to communication. Keep the audience in mind.