Competitive Study Between Leading Brands: PEPSI vs COKE

Essay by sheetal_1108University, Master'sF, October 2006

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Cola wars is the term used to describe the campaign of mutually-targeted television advertisements in the 1980s between Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola. They first began showing people doing blind taste tests in which they preferred one product over the other, then they began hiring more and more popular spokespersons to promote their products.

They focused particularly on rock stars; notable soft drink promoters included Michael Jackson (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 Coke Classic. Royal Crown Cola was also a major competitor with Coke and Pepsi during the "Cola Wars."

The Cola Wars are referenced in the Billy Joel song "We Didn't Start the Fire"; in the South Park episode "It's Christmas in Canada"; and recently in the internet game Kingdom of Loathing.

In 1985, Coca-Cola and Pepsi were launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle in order to conduct a taste test. The companies had to design 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. Coke would later return to space with an improved delivery system. During the 1990s, a "second cola war" was reported in the United Kingdom. This time it was due to the launch of Virgin Cola and Sainsbury's generic Classic Cola, that, unlike most generic colas, was designed to look like a top product worthy of competition. For a few years both colas gave Coca Cola and Pepsi a run for the money, Coca Cola even sued Sainsburys claming the design of their cans was far too similar to theirs. However, today, both Virgin...