Wednesday, July 13, 2011

PepsiCo and the future of snack terms

The May 16, 2011 edition of The New Yorker has a fascinating article ("Snacks for a Fat Planet," paywall) about the PepsiCo's efforts to try to divine their future markets. It's also fascinating for an unusual number of neological-type terms and for the not-entirely-clear formula they're using to determine whether to put presumably unfamiliar terms inside quotation marks.

The two terms that struck me first were drinkified (for foods) and snackified (for drinks). Here's a cite that sums it up:

Let's say you give a kid a carrot," Nooyi [CEO] explained. "And he says, 'I don't want to eat a carrot.' But you say, 'I tell you what, I'll give it to you in a wonderful drinkable form that's still as close to the carrot as possible.' All of a sudden, what have I done? I've drinkified the snack! Or I take a fruit juice and give it to you in a wonderful squeezable form, which is Tropolis. What have I done now? I've snackified the drink.

There are ~9000 hits on Google for drinkified; many of them reference this same thing (either the article or similar stories about PepsiCo).

I'm just going to go out on a limb here and muse that these two terms are going to irritate a lot of people.

As I say, there were some other terms in the article as well. One is, I think, of Pepsi origin, others are from other fields, but relatively unfamiliar. Let's say that there are a lot of quotation marks in the article around terms. Here's my list:

  • reward sensitivity -- a term from psychology (?) referring to how easily people are satisfied. (Something that people who design snacks take into account.) No quotation marks in the article. (34K Google hits.)
  • bliss point -- the point at which you achieve satisfaction, same context. In quotation marks. (48K Google hits.)
  • sip and spit, e.g. sip and spit rooms -- the technique used for tasting. In quotation marks. (Familiar from wine and coffee tasting, I suppose -- 160K Google hits.)
  • blue-can Pepsi -- the traditional/original version of Pepsi. No quotation marks. (8K Google hits.)
Not all new terms, but new enough, I guess, that John Seabrook (or some editor) decided that some -- but not all -- needed to be marked.

1 comment:

Fritinancy said...

Speaking of drinkify and snackify, there's quite a bit of namification in the wider world of branding. The Name Inspector wrote a post about some of the -ify (and iffy) company names (Adify, Storify, Mobify, etc.):