• Counter :
  • 1979
  • Date :
  • 5/16/2010

Cola wars

cola wars

Cola Wars is the term used to describe the campaign of mutually-targeted television advertisements and marketing campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s between soft drink manufacturers The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo.


Marketing campaigns

Coca-Cola and Pepsi focused particularly on rock stars; notable soft drink promoters such as Ray Charles (for Pepsi) and Paula Abdul (for Diet Coke).



One example of a heated exchange that occurred during the Cola Wars was Coca-Cola making a strategic retreat on July 11, 1985, by announcing its plans to bring back the original 'Classic' Coke after recently introducing New Coke.

However most agree with the theory that the New Coke fiasco of the 80's was simply a marketing campaign to push sales of coca cola, which to that point had been slipping in comparison with sales of pepsi. In any case, the mistake/marketing worked and sales of Coke Classic sky rocketed for the rest of the year. However, it is thought that the New Coke development cost Coca Cola millions in not only R&D but also distribution. The destruction of New Coke also contaminated the water supply of around 100ha.



Pepsi ads often focused on non celebrities, choosing Pepsi over Coke, supporting Pepsi's positioning as "The Choice of a New Generation." Pepsi began showing people doing blind taste tests called Pepsi Challenge in which they preferred one product over the other, and then they began hiring more and more popular spokespersons to promote their products.

In the late-1990s, Pepsi launched its most successful long-term strategy of the Cola Wars, Pepsi Stuff. Consumers were invited to "Drink Pepsi, Get Stuff" and collect Pepsi Points on billions of packages and cups. They could redeem the points for free, Pepsi lifestyle merchandise. After researching and testing the program for over two years to ensure that it resonated with consumers, Pepsi launched Pepsi Stuff, which was an instant success. Tens of millions of consumers participated. Pepsi outperformed Coke during the summer of the Atlanta Olympics - held in Coke's hometown - where Coke was a lead sponsor of the Games. Due to its success, the program was expanded to include Mountain Dew, and into Pepsi's international markets worldwide. The company continued to run the program for many years, continually innovating with new features each year.

The Pepsi Stuff promotion became the subject of a lawsuit. In one of the many commercials, Pepsi showed a young man in the cockpit of a Harrier Jump Jet. Below ran the caption "Harrier Jet: 7 million Pepsi Points." There was a mechanism for buying additional Pepsi Points to complete a Pepsi Stuff order. John Leonard, of Seattle, Washington, sent in a Pepsi Stuff request with the minimum amount of points and a check for over $700,000US to make up for the extra points he needed. Pepsi did not accept the request and Leonard filed suit. The judgment was that a reasonable person viewing the commercial would realize that Pepsi was not, in fact, offering a Harrier Jet. In response to the suit, Pepsi added the words "Just Kidding" under the portion of the commercial featuring the jet as well as changing the "price" to 700 million Pepsi points.

In 1985, Coca-Cola and Pepsi were launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle on STS-51-F. The companies had designed special cans for use in zero G conditions. The experiment was classified a failure by the shuttle crew, primarily due to the lack of refrigeration and gravity.

cola wars

Second Cola War

During the 1990s, a "second cola war" was reported in the United Kingdom. This time it was due to the launch of Virgin Cola, as well as Sainsbury's store brand Classic Cola, which, unlike most store brand colas, was designed to look like a top product worthy of competition. For a few years both colas were competitive with Coca-Cola and Pepsi; at one point Coca-Cola even sued Sainsbury's claiming the design of the Classic Cola can was too similar to Coke's. However, today, both Virgin and Classic Cola are far behind the two major brands. The high-publicity marketing also continued into the 1990s.

Virtual Refreshment

Coca-Cola and Pepsi engaged in a "cyber-war" with the re-introduction of Pepsi Stuff in 2005 & Coca-Cola retaliated with Coke Rewards. This cola war is currently ongoing. Both are loyalty programs that give away prizes to product consumers after collecting bottle caps and 12 or 24 pack box tops, then submitting codes online for a certain number of points.

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com

Other Links:

The Day in History

World Asthma Day (WAD)

World Diabetes Day

  • Print

    Send to a friend

    Comment (0)