Essay on Cola Wars Continued – Coke vs. Pepsi in 2006

2043 Words Sep 1st, 2008 9 Pages
Cola Wars Continued – Coke vs. Pepsi in 2006

Reading the case, special attention should be paid to the underlying economics of the soft drink industry and its relationship to average profits, the relationship between the different stages of the value chain in the industry, the relationship between competitive interaction and industry profits, and the impact of globalization on industry structure.

While preparing the case, you should start by carefully characterizing the carbonated soft drink industry. To do this, clearly specify Coke and Pepsi’s market in the value chain of the industry, their main suppliers and main buyers.

Both concentrate producers (CP) and bottlers are profitable. These two parts of the industry are
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The least profitable channel for soft drinks, however, was fountain sales. Profitability at these locations was so abysmal for Coke and Pepsi that they considered this channel “paid sampling.” This was because buyers at major fast food chains only needed to stock the products of one manufacturer, so they could negotiate for optimal pricing. Coke and Pepsi found these channels important, however, as an avenue to build brand recognition and loyalty, so they invested in the fountain equipment and cups that were used to serve their products at these outlets. As a result, while Coke and Pepsi gained only 5% margins, fast food chains made75% gross margin on fountain drinks. Vending, meanwhile, was the most profitable channel for the soft drink industry. Essentially there were no buyers to bargain with at these locations, where Coke and Pepsi bottlers could sell directly to consumers through machines owned by bottlers. Property owners were paid a sales commission on Coke and Pepsi products sold through machines on their property, so their incentives were properly aligned with those of the soft drink makers, and prices remained high. The customer in this case was the consumer, who was generally limited on thirst quenching alternatives. The final channel to consider is convenience stores and gas stations. If Mobil or Seven-Eleven were to negotiate on behalf of its stations, it would be able to exert significant buyer
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