Essay on The Cola Wars: Pepsi vs Coke

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The Cola Wars: Pepsi vs Coke

PepsiCo. Incorporated and The Coca-Cola Company are the two largest and oldest archrivals in the carbonated soft drink (CSD) industry. Coca-Cola was invented and first marketed in 1886, followed by Pepsi Cola in 1898. Coca-Cola was named after the coca leaves and kola nuts John Pemberton used to make it, and Pepsi Cola after the beneficial effects its creator, Caleb Bradham, claimed it had on dyspepsia. The rivalry between the soda giants, also known as the "Cola Wars", began in the 1960’s when Coca-Cola's dominance was being increasingly challenged by Pepsi Cola. The competitive environment between the rivals was intense and well-publicized, forcing both companies to continuously establish and
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For instance, Coca-Cola first entered the market as a medicine and eventually into soft drinks their ad slogans would center on the theme of healing: “Coca-Cola revives and sustains”; and, “Satisfies the thirsty and helps the weary”.

Coca-Cola’s confidence in its domination over the soft drink industry eroded, and its advertising slogans began to recognize industry competition: “No Wonder Coke Tastes the Best”. While Coke’s slogans have always centered on the product, Pepsi’s advertisement emphasized the users of the product. Rather than targeting every market, Pepsi focused on the demographic environment. Pepsi foresaw the mass appeal of the youth generation for soft drinks and in 1961 divulged the successful slogan “Now, It’s Pepsi, for Those Who Think Young”. The campaign was such a success that Pepsi’s sales growth outperformed that of Coca-Cola.

Marketing strategies began to take broader dimensions as the soft drink industry continued to expand and became more complex. In 1976, Pepsi introduced the Pepsi Challenge in its campaigns, a moved that directly challenged Coca-Cola’s longstanding dominance. In 1985, responding to the pressure of the taste tests, which Pepsi always won, Coca-Cola decided to change its formula. This move set off a shock wave across America. Consumers angrily demanded that the old formula be returned, and Coca-Cola responded three months later with Classic Coke. Five years after the infamous Coke fiasco, the Coca-Cola
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