Becoming a Member of the Est Generation
In Thailand fashion is important, perhaps more so than in may cultures. Branding — I hate that word, but one has to pick and choose one’s fights — is everywhere. Notably, like many countries in this part of the world, it’s not uncommon to find brands that mimic their larger Western counterparts, if not outright lifting logos and images and whatnot — so called intellectual property.
Here in Thailand recently you see advertisements for Est, a brand of soft drinks — “pop” to those of us that hail from the Midwestern U.S. — all over the place. Curiosity finally got the best of me while grocery shopping the other night, and I picked up a couple cans of Est. It’s lemon-lime flavor tastes pretty much like most soft drinks of this flavor (i.e., like Sprite). Of course, in terms of marketing/branding, it brandishes — heh — yellow and green colors and a design reminiscent of Sprite.
Then, there is the cola version of Est, which is clearly taking direct aim at Pepsi; the logo and colors of Est cola, perhaps even more than the lemon-lime version and Sprite, remind one of Pepsi, as opposed to Coke. It also, not surprisingly, tastes similar to Pepsi (i.e. malted battery acid).
I tried them out of a mild curiosity, as I say; not a big soda prop drinker these days, and when I do, it’s usually Coke (which also tastes like malted battery acid, only slightly tastier).
While purchasing said beverages, though, I couldn’t help but notice that while there was plenty of Coke products on the shelves, there was no Pepsi or related brands to be had. Didn’t think too much about it, but just now, while googling to find out more about Est as a brand, I came across this interesting business news vis-a-vis Pepsi in Thailand and the advent of the Est brand.
Anyway, here’s the Est cans in question, residing on my kitchen counter (which is actually on my balcony — you have to love this part of the world).
Not sure why they chose these particular Thai letters; only one of them corresponds directly to the sounds represented by the English letters e, s, and t. Maybe I’m interpreting the stylized typeface incorrectly though; I’ll have to consult my Thai friends sometime on this one.