What is the usual beverage you tend to buy, Coke or Pepsi? Well we all at some point of time realize that Cola wars are never ending. What makes it more interesting is their marketing and sales strategies to fight against each other. Coca-Cola’s and Pepsi’s rival dates back to more than a century where they both started showcasing their rivalry and started bombarding each other with their extensive advertisements and marketing campaigns. Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 and after 12 years Pepsi was invented in 1898. Coca Cola had never taken their rival Pepsi too seriously in the beginning stages as they felt that Pepsi was nowhere close to being in the league of competition with Coca Cola. Pepsi proved them wrong and gave Coca Cola a nightmare with their challenge named ‘Pepsi Challenge’ in 1975.
But who ultimately is the big player and dominates market share? It definitely is Coca Cola which has a market share of 42% compared to 30% market share of Pepsi (NASDAQ.com, 2014). Marketeers constantly evaluate marketing activities and campaigns with various Metrics such as financial, Behavioural, Memory, physical availability, marketing activities and customer profile metrics. These metrics helps the marketeers to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns done by companies. Evaluating marketing performance helps the marketing managers, brand managers or directors to evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing strategies. It helps them to know if the company’s marketing strategy was successful in terms of making profit, generating sales, gaining market share, converting new customers, retaining loyal customers, spreading brand awareness, product availability, understanding their consumers etc. With the help of marketing evaluation, companies alter and modify their marketing plans and strategies if their existing plans are not successful (Marketing Evaluation, 2016).
Coca Cola and Pepsi, the two giants invest heavily in marketing making their rivalry very obvious. One of the classic example of Coca Cola is when they initiated a campaign named ‘Share a Coke’ in 2011 where they printed 150 popular Australian names on the Coca Cola cans and bottles. The idea was simple, they wanted consumers to reconnect and converse with their friends and loved ones over a bottle or can of coke. The campaign was launched in TV, media, Facebook and twitter. People especially the youngsters queued up to get a personalized can or bottle of coke with their name on it. This event was a huge success with the company not only exceeded revenue but also created a strong brand presence in the beverages market. The consumption increased by 7% among the youngsters during the campaign and traffic on the coke Facebook site grew by 870%. With this campaign Coca Cola made another headlines giving their rival Pepsi another blow. By evaluating this campaign, Coca Cola has again redefined their marketing innovation in terms of generating growth based sales, engaging consumers and creating brand awareness.
On the other hand Coca Cola’s rival Pepsi responded to them by recreating and relaunching their legendary marketing promotion named ‘Pepsi Challenge’ in 2015. The ‘Pepsi Challenge’ was first launched in 1975 which was a blind taste test of coke and Pepsi. Pepsi claimed that more than 50% of the people who took the test preferred Pepsi over coke. This campaign was a huge success and helped Pepsi to increase their market share and also dominate a few markets. But the company unlike the 1975 challenge, introduced new Pepsi Challenges where celebrities along with the consumers would participate in the challenges like filling empty bottles of Pepsi with water and bleach so that they can retract sunlight in the night in the poor communities. The campaigns global ambassadors were Usher, Serena Williams etc. With this campaign, Pepsi became one of the companies who share meaningful consumer content through entertainment. After this challenge Pepsi reported record sales in the third quarter in 2015. Their volume based sales also increased and consumers had a positive impact with this campaign. What was more important to the company was to change the perception of the consumers towards the brand and creating a positive feeling.
Though the cola wars continue and will continue, the question is the sustainability of Cola’s as there has been a decline in cola consumption. The reason being more and more consumers being health conscious and shifting to healthy drinks over cola’s. Time has come for Coca Cola and Pepsi to develop their health based drinks.
Dr Ken Hudson. (2014). What innovators can learn from the share a coke campaign. [online] Available at: http://drkenhudson.com/share-coke-campaign-can-teach-innovators/ [Accessed 14 May 2016].
Marketing Evaluation. (2016). .
NASDAQ.com. (2014). Coke Vs. Pepsi: By The Numbers. [online] Available at: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/coke-vs-pepsi-by-the-numbers-cm337909 [Accessed 16 May 2016].
Popsop.com. (2016). The Pepsi Challenge revived with a socially led, purpose-driven twist. [online] Available at: http://popsop.com/2015/03/the-pepsi-challenge-revived-with-a-socially-led-purpose-driven-twist/ [Accessed 16 May 2016].
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