Starbucks-Pepsi partnership proves fruitful, exec says

PepsiCo's Girish Gupta talks to an audience at Fordham University. (Photo by Victoria Cleveland)

PepsiCo’s Girish Gupta talks to an audience at Fordham University. (Photo by Victoria Cleveland)

By Victoria Cleveland

A partnership between PepsiCo and Starbucks has proven to be a success, a PepsiCo executive told an audience at Fordham University recently.

Girish Gupta, Pepsi’s director of sales, said the synergy between Pepsi and Starbucks has made it easier for the two companies to court today’s consumers, who have less time than ever to prepare things at home (who has time to brew a pot of coffee?) and are increasingly “on the go” (what good is a ceramic mug?).

Enter “refrigerated soft-serve beverages,” in industry-speak. Think of the small glass bottles of pre-made Frappuccino that you can buy anywhere from Duane Reade to the supermarket to Starbucks itself.

Gupta’s speaking appearance at Fordham was arranged by the marketing area of the Gabelli School of Business. In addition to the Frappucino, he told the student audience, other ready-to-go drinks are showing a surge in popularity, including energy drinks and options marketed as “healthy,” such as coconut water.

Gupta also spoke about advertising and marketing initiatives, saying that campaigns take time to work.

“A good way to watch a product fail is to give it one year of advertising. You need to give it two to three years,” he said.

Dillon Rebock, BS ’18, said he appreciated Gupta’s insider perspective.

“It was an exciting experience to see the workings behind the consumer insights that affect companies and their decisions,” Dillon said.


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