A Brand, A Blindfold, A Birthday and The Bottom Line. Coke Turns 125

Valued at more than $70 billion, Coca-Cola’s brand is ranked # 1 in the world. Its nearest competitor by category, Pepsi, is not next in line, not even in the top 10. They’re a whole 23 steps away, worth only a mere $14 bil and change. Yet since 1975 when The Pepsi Challenge blind taste tasting events began, consumer preference trended towards Pepsi.

What’s up with that?

First, lets take a quick look at the difference in branding- the emotional connection consumers have with both.

What do you think about when you think Coke?
Maybe it’s Santa Clause. Maybe it’s Norman Rockwell. Coke credits their advertising with creating the modern image of big Nick himself. Or how about diversity- and the beautiful commercials about teaching the Whole World to Sing, that had America humming.

Now think Pepsi
Maybe Madonna comes to mind. Or Michael Jackson’s hair catching on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial.

Or maybe I’m too old.

Let’s go social to see how the two companies use the social network differently. 
Pepsi’s Facebook page looks downright sparse compared to Coke’s two dozen features.

Some Stats

Who Created the Page
Coke: Two fans, who were given a tour of the headquarters in Atlanta and whose video of the trip is prominently displayed on the site.
Pepsi: The PepsiCo marketing department.

Immediate Call to “Like” the Site
Coke: “Like Coke? There’s a button for that.”

Number of “Likes”
Coke: 24.6 million
Pepsi: 3.8 million

Number of Photos
Coke: 13, 319
Pepsi: 1,774

A Social Media Gaffe?

The Pepsi Refresh project, with a promise of $20 million in donations for “refreshing ideas that change the world,” is being revamped though the response was spectacular: 80 million votes registered; 60,000 followers on Twitter; 4 million “likes” on Facebook.

Only one problem- many voters and grant winners say they don’t generally buy soda. Perhaps that explains why last month the Wall Street Journal reported that both Pepsi and Diet Pepsi had each lost about 5% of their market share over the past 12 months in the US.

The bottom line is that after 125 years in business, the future still looks bright for Coca-Cola. That’s because no one buys soda with a blindfold on.

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