Top Dog Versus Underdog: Pepsi Vs. Coca-cola

“In the last decade, Coke’s market share has risen from 17.3% to 17.8%, while Pepsi’s has dropped from 10.3% to 8.4%, according to Beverage Digest, a trade publication.” (Wiener-Bronner, 2018)

Coca-cola: Top Dog brand strategy:

Coca-cola’s strategy uses a slew of marketing strategies to include mass-marketing, niche marketing, and is even expanding into other markets with coffee, tea, Powerade, and water. Recently Coca-cola unveiled their “Taste the Feeling” creative campaign to aid in their “one brand” message that Coca-Cola is for everyone. The new campaign reinforces the idea that drinking Coca-Cola – any Coca-Cola product – is a simple pleasure that makes everyday moments more special. (Moye, 2016)

Pepsi: Underdog Brand Strategy:

Pepsi also uses numerous marketing strategies to include mass and niche marketing. In 2012 Pepsi introduced it’s ‘Live For Now’ Messaging along with a package redesign, but just this year, January 2019, they unveiled their new marketing message and a tagline of ‘For The Love of It’ (Fleming 2019). Roberto Rios, senior vice-president of marketing at PepsiCo, says: “We are confidently celebrating who we are – an iconic brand rooted in entertainment with a refreshing and delicious beverage people around the world love – as well as who our fellow cola lovers are” (Fleming 2019).

Three things Pepsi can do to improve its strategy so it can gain more market share and surpass Coca-Cola:

  • I would argue Pepsi is taking a step in the right direction with launching it’s ‘For The Love Of It’ Campaign in that it celebrates who they are, educates Gen Z of Pepsi’s heritage and has a pretty compelling message that I believe resonates with a lot of Millenials, Gen X, Y and Z. Specifically: “’For The Love of It’ is our rallying cry, proudly saying to go all in for the things you love – from passions and interests like football and music, to unabashedly enjoying one of life’s favorite treats – Pepsi” (Fleming 2019). It’s a message which resonates with their target market; what I suggest they do is explore ideas with how to hit their target market with various different angles while keeping the messaging similar.
  • They can improve their programmatic advertising, focusing their marketing messages and budget on platforms, particularly online. 
  • Showcase more celebrities, influencers, ‘talking heads’ of their target market promoting their’ message of “Go All In”, and expand with messaging like “Never Compromise”, “Pursue Your Dreams”, etc., basically position the messaging so the target market feels and perceives Pepsi as a higher class beverage.

Why I believe consumers prefer Coke over Pepsi, what I prefer, and why:

  • I think most people prefer Coke over Pepsi because more people were exposed to Coke before they were Pepsi. I think it stems from Coke enjoying first to market advantages, and having brand loyalty with consumers who drank their products many years before ever being exposed to competing products. I know this is true for me, I grew up with my family drinking coke, I never really knew Pepsi existed until I got to the age I could drive, and by then I was so used to Coke I never really even considered Pepsi. Fast forward today, and I’ll tell you I prefer Pepsi. The main reason I prefer Pepsi over Coke today is because of taste. I’ve found the aftertaste of Coca-cola to be quite disgusting, and Pepsi is sweeter, thicker, and is more refreshing for me.

Works Cited:

Fleming Molly. (Jan 8, 2019). Pepsi celebrates ‘pop and fizz’ of cola as it shifts brand positioning. Retrieved From: https://www.marketingweek.com/pepsi-unveils-new-marketing-platform-in-overhaul/

Moye Jay. (Jan 19, 2016). ‘One Brand’ Strategy, New Global Campaign Unite Coca-Cola Trademark. Retrieved From: https://www.coca-colacompany.com/tastethefeeling

Scipioni Jade. (Feb 15, 2019). Coke vs. Pepsi: Who is really winning?. Retrieved From: https://www.foxbusiness.com/retail/coke-vs-pepsi-who-is-really-winning

Wiener-Bronner. (Feb 21, 2018). Why Coke is winning the cola wars. Retrieved From: https://money.cnn.com/2018/02/20/news/companies/cola-wars-coke-pepsi/index.html