Is hunger satiable?

September 7, 2008 § 7 Comments

When some random child on the road begged me for five rupees to eat, little did I realize that I was soon going to understand a lot more about this boy than his hunger.  And a lot more about a certain corporation‘s marketing excellence.  And a lot more about the Maslow’s little triangle.

I saw a little boy running towards me and when told me he was hungry and he needed money, I suggested that since he is hungry, I would buy him the food he wanted instead of giving him some change.  Readily the boy agreed.  When we went to a nearby hotel that served biscuits and samosas.  That is when I had his squeaky voice say “Pupsi dhaan venum”.  Pepsi.  I offered him some filling snacks and all he wanted was a Pepsi.

As I ponder more about this, I don’t know whether I should marvel at the branding & distribution genius in PepsiCo or worry about the little kid’s perception, or just be happy that I was able to satisfy his small want beyond his actual need.  The boy was visibly lacking nutrition and needed some wholesome food.  What does his need/want for that Pepsi indicate?

The shiny advertisements, the huge stars to endorse the brand, the easy access and of course the summer to accentuate the want… This is probably why the little boy wanted that one Pepsi over a square meal that he is missing.  But is this the customer Pepsi wants?  Beyond poverty, beyond hunger, beyond access, the boy was clear about what he wanted.

So many questions and thoughts raced through my head and I was wondering whether I should buy that Pepsi for him.

I did.

The look on his face when he saw the bottle, as he was drinking the cola, and after he was done, was priceless.

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