Monday, 15 January 2018

How a PR Stunt Helped a Brand Gained an Unprecedented Entry into a Saturated Nigerian Soft-drink Market.

  written by Ishola Ayodele (Strategic Communication Strategist)

Country: Nigeria

Company: Pepsi Co


The Situation

In the early 90s, there was a fierce competition between Pepsi and Coca-cola, each trying to undo the other by launching series of products. Consequently, the launching of new products began to make little or no impact on the market. Nigerian consumers rarely gravitated to buy any new product launch by these two companies. The ads were all looking the same to Nigerians and they could hardly distinguish which is which anymore.

The challenge:

Coca-cola’ Fanta was gaining upper hand and Pepsi had just invented this new product call ‘Mirinda’ which they believe will help them compete with Fanta. The challenge was how to launch this new product in such a way that Nigerians won’t just ignore it as they have been doing to the soft-drinks launch around that time. How do they get Nigerians gravitating to this new Soft-drink?


To garner attention and create awareness for this new product in a unique and appealing way.

To secure market penetration


The idea was to create a PR Stunt that will grab the attention of Nigerians and get them guessing as well as making them eager to know what the stunt was about.


  1. Since the colour of Mirinda is orange, three characters were created. They were named “The 3 Orange Men”. They looked scary and strange, almost alien-like.

  1. Produced short videos of these Orange men doing awkward things like walking, towing car or just seated looking like Zombies.

  1. Produced giant billboards showing the pictures of the 3 Orange men in different part of the country.

  1. Produced big banners and posters of the 3 Orange men at every major market in Nigeria.

  1. The 3 Orange men appeared unexpectedly at a densely populated market or on the pedestrian bridge following each other in a Zombie fashion.

  1. Once the three orange men phenomenon had gotten everyone in Nigeria talking and the awareness had reached a very impressive level, the product was unveiled.

  1. Unveiled the product via a TV ad showing each the 3 Orange men enjoying a bottle of Mirinda.


              This PR stunt lasted not more than 3 weeks but its impact was massive.

  1. The three orange men caused a scene when they were seen in public. In a couple of weeks, they were on the lips of everyone. People wanted to know where they came from and what they were doing in Nigeria.
  2. Millions of Nigerians bought Mirinda just to have a taste.

  1. Mirinda got an overwhelming market penetration.

PR Lessons

a.        Research
You will always get the best out of your campaign if you take the time to gather and analyze data about your target audience. Your understanding of their concerns, needs, attitudes, believes and socio-cultural values will add valuable insight and information that will enable you to strategize effectively.

b.       Be creative
If everyone is thinking alike then it means many are not thinking. You need to distinguish yourself from the bandwagon effect. You need to think differently in order to stand out from the pack. You need to understand how to embark on critical thinking as part of your strategic planning.

c.       The Pandora Effect:
Sometimes keeping people guessing can be a way to grab their attention and create a conversation about your brand.

New research suggests that humans are hard-wired to be inquisitive. The study shows that we have an inbuilt drive to find out more about our environment. We are tempted to seek out missing information when the outcome is uncertain. The Pandora effect states that “Our curiosity drives our decision-making process”.
Maria Konnikova, the author of Times bestseller “Mastermind” summed it up masterfully when she said, “The human mind is incredibly averse to uncertainty and ambiguity; we respond to uncertainty or lack of clarity by spontaneously generating plausible explanations”.
As a communicator, you must master the art of using this Pandora effect for if gotten right it will get your target audience longing for answers, answers that your brand will provide. This was the secret behind the 3 Orange men PR stunt.

Nigerians were theorizing, some say they were alien from out of space, some religious people say they were a sign of end time meant to warn to repent from our sins and some other people just think the guys are stupid clowns trying to scare people. The theory is inconsequential what is of paramount concern to Pepsi was that they the 3 Orange was the major talk of the town. Thus, when they unveil Miranda it answered all the questions and guesses.

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