Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been in battle for more than a century. Surprise!!! Let's see who wins at last!!!
The cola wars refer to the long-time rivalry between two soft drink giants The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, who have engaged in mutually-targeted marketing campaigns against each other for each company’s product lines, especially their flagship products, Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The facts that regarding this century long war are quite fascinating, so let us know what are they:
Table of Contents
1. From the Beginning:
In 1886, John Stith Pemberton, a pharmacist and a civil war veteran from Atlanta, Georgia, developed the original recipe for Coca-Cola. By 1888,the recipe was bought by Asa Griggs Candler a business tycoon for $238 (Seriously), who, in 1896, founded The Coca-Cola Company. Two years later, in 1898, Caleb Bradham invented Pepsi Cola’s recipe and named it “Brad’s Drink” and later changed it to “Pepsi-Cola,”. He later formed the Pepsi-Cola Company in 1902, which eventually led to the cola wars.
2. Could Have Been Avoided:
Since Coca-Cola had the head start so it took the early lead and was already selling millions of liters of its product world wide while Pepsi was struggling to find its footing. Between 1920 and 1935 Pepsi went bankrupt twice and offered to sell itself to Coca-Cola (Excuse Me!!! What) but after the second bankruptcy and rejection by Coca-Cola, Pepsi found its footing and began to bounce back thus officially starting the Cola Wars.
3. Setting For War:
After the end of WW2 which laid bare the whole world for these two iconic American product was the initial setting for war. With Coca-Cola amping up its marketing campaign there was a chance that it could take over the world but that did not happen. Pepsi launched its own campaign after moving into the snack venture as well which allowed Pepsi the status almost equal to Coca-Cola.
4. Influencing Techniques:
Coca-Cola advertising has historically focused on wholesomeness and nostalgia. Coca-Cola advertising is often characterized as “family-friendly” and often relies on “cute” characters (e.g., the Coca-Cola polar bear mascot and Santa Claus around Christmas)
Pepsi advertising is heavily supported by strategic sponsorships and online marketing. Pepsi’s logo utilizes the red, white and blue colors of the Flag of the United States, drawing on a strong sense of patriotism throughout its branding.
5. Pepsi’s Strategies:
Pepsi merged with Frito Lay in the mid-60s to create PepsiCo, to fight the domination of Coca-Cola. Diet drinks were also started also, creating a whole new segment which was going to dominate for decades to come and still is a dominating force.
Even more In 1975, Pepsi began showing advertisements based on the Pepsi Challenge, in which ordinary people were asked which product they preferred in blind taste tests. The campaign suggested that, when it came down to taste alone, consumers preferred Pepsi over Coca-Cola. This prompted Coca-Cola’s creation of “Diet Coke,” and later on, “New Coke,” both of which led to a major shifting point in the cola wars.
6. Coke Strategies:
Despite never venturing into snacks business like its rival, Coca-Cola has been able to dominate the world on its own soft drink products. To do that it Coke started TV advertisements using celebrity to endorse the brand. Coke decided to go public in 1962, on during of launch of Sprite, one of the Coke’s most successful brand in existence.
Lately Coca-Cola introduced their “Share a Coke” campaign in Australia in 2011 changing the traditional design of their products to display “Share a Coke with:” and have names printed on each bottle or can. The idea behind the campaign was to create a more personal relationship with their customers.
There were time during the cola wars where things stooped down to pettiness and got ugly. As of in 2019 during Super Bowl LIII one of the most watched sports events in USA, which was played in Atlanta where Coca-Cola has its head office since its origin. Pepsi started an advertising tied to the game which poked fun at the situation with slogans such as “Pepsi in Atlanta. How Refreshing”, “Hey Atlanta, Thanks For Hosting. We’ll Bring The Drinks”, and “Look Who’s in Town for Super Bowl LIII”.
8. Kamikaze Products:
Kamikaze was the tactical use of suicide attacks by Japan during WW2 where it destroyed the enemy by killing itself. During a low point during cola wars Coke did the same with a newly emerging and wannabe successful product “Crystal Pepsi” which was clear in nature. Releasing “Tab Clear” a product which was some what unhealthy in nature Coke managed to stop the Pepsi in its tracks. This strategy was later referred as Kamikaze strategy/products/marketing and so on.
9. Current Situation:
After one century of battle and the entrants of other soft drinks company as well, these 2 giants have not showed the sign of stopping, they’ve even taken the fight into outer space, fought over loyalty programs, and raged over social media which is good for the consumer since it gets us better product and for the company which forces them for further betterment.
10. Will it STOP? Cola wars Seriously!! Its way too much fun
Well that depends on the performance and the products released by these two giants in near future. The hit 1989 song “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, by Billy Joel was a reference to cola wars. There is even a documentary in History Channel about it. Even in Nepal there are signs of cola war battles.