Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Cola Wars: Does the Advertisement Make the Product?

Today for the first time in what seems like years, I ordered a soda, or "pop" for those of you from the midwest, and was asked whether I would like Coke or Pepsi. I was a bit confused, because Coke always seems to be the right answer from the ever popular "Coke vs. Pepsi" game DJs love to play at birthday parties to the signs most seen in restaurants, Pepsi seems like more of a logo and Coke seems like more of a drink.

How did this happen?
The drinks were created only twelve years apart and if you ask me, taste virtually the same. So what gave one the upper hand? The only asnwer I could think of was advertising.

After some research, I found that the "Cola Wars" were launched in the 1980's. This was an ad campaign battle between the two companies. While a lot of commercials focused on choosing one product over the other, after some time the battle diverged and both companies went their separate ways.

Pepsi focused more on the consumer than the product. Their ad campaign revolved around the "New Generation" and convincing said generation, through the use of America's favorite stars, to buy Pepsi.

Coke, on the other hand, focused more on the product and taste of their beverage. A cold Coke always looks refreshing in commercials regardless of the fact that it is usually too high in sugar to quench your thirst. In consistently advertising their drink for a drink, focuing on refreshment more than gimmicks, Coca Cola has become the iconic American drink and a leader in the global beverage industry. Today, Coke is most well known as the soda of choice. In a survey of 52 people, only 4 chose Pepsi as their drink of choice.

Pepsi, however, is an iconic American company. The company is aware that they are famous more for their commercials and name than their drink. The official website states "For over 100 years, Pepsi-Cola has produced some of the finest soft drink ads available anywhere in the world. From today's "Joy of Pepsi," as sung by Britney Spears, to yesterday's "Nickel, Nickel" (1939), our ads are as memorable as the products we produce."

Most advertising today does not rely on producers letting the product speak for itself. There is a lot of disguise in advertising and a huge use of media and influential people. In this sense, Pepsi was ahead of its time in advertising. Through the use of impressive stunts, memorable songs, and America's favorite icon's being rewarded for work with Pepsi, Pepsi has become an American icon.

So what do you think? Does the ad make the product or does the product make the brand? An which is the better cola, Coke or Pepsi?

1 comment:

  1. Coke is stronger in terms of carbonation, but for me, it's all about the Pepsi Throwback.