Monday, November 24, 2008
The Great Soda Rivalry-Coke vs. Pepsi: Who's No. 1?
Whether it's in sports, politics or competing corporations, most rivalries are defined by a storied history that features two teams of similar strength
In politics, it's the Bush's vs. the Clinton's, in fast food, it's McDonalds vs. Burger King, the NFL has the Redskins vs. the Cowboys, college football has Auburn vs. Alabama, college basketball has Duke vs. UNC, the NBA has the Lakers vs. Celtics and in pro baseball, we all know about the hate between the Red Sox and the Yankees.
All of those sports rivalries are measured by classic games,memorable moments, and star players, so how do we measure the rivalry between the two soft drink kings? We could compare annual revenue,market shares and profits, but that's too bland. Instead, I think we should compare and contrast celebrity spokespersons and notable gaffes in the long history of each drink.
Pepsi's slogan for 2008 is pretty simple: "Pepsi is #1."
In the spirit of college football season, let's take a look at the lineups of each team.
For starters, I have to challenge Pepsi's #1 claim, because the 2008 spokesperson is Luke Rosin. I don't know who Luke Rosin is, and apparently Google doesn't either.
Coke and Pepsi have rolled out many celebrities during the past 20 years, and comedian Dave Chapelle promoted both drinks during the same year. (When he was asked about his personal preference, Chapelle said he preferred Pepsi, because they were the last one to pay him.)
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce Knowles
Justin Timberlake and Luke Rosin
Jerry Mathers and Ken Osmond (Wally, Beaver and Eddie Haskell, respectively, on “Leave It to Beaver”)
David Liesure (seen as “Joe Izuzu” in car ads)
Ray Parker, Jr.
“Wierd Al” Yankovic
Courteney Cox Arquette
In my opinion, it's a toss-up, because for every major celebrity, there's a c-list name on there who should be on the next episode of the surreal life.
Some rivalries are known for memorable gaffes. Just say "wide right" to any FSU football fan and they'll immediately think of the five different occasions when the Seminoles lost to the Miami Hurricanes due to a missed field goal. As for Coke and Pepsi, they're both guilty of embarrassing moments. In 1985, Coke unveiled "New" Coke, composed with a different sweetener, but the public's reaction was so negative, Coke executives announced the return of the original formula on less than three months after New Coke's introduction. Crystal Pepsi, a clear version of the drink, was introduced via a Van Halen Super Bowl ad.
The verdict- New Coke left a negative stigma that overshadowed the Crystal Pepsi blunder. An old urban legend claims that from 1891 to 1903, Coke's original formula was made with traces of Cocaine , so maybe some new rumors about crystal-meth ingredients for Crystal Pepsi could balance the scales.
By Matt O'Hern at 08:40 AM | Comments (9)