The Cola Wars are a campaign of mutually-targeted television advertisements and marketing campaigns since the 1980s between soft drink manufacturers Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo Incorporated.
Many of the brands available from the three largest soda producers, The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, are intended as direct, equivalent competitors. The following chart lists these competitors by type or flavor of drink.
Flavor/type | PepsiCo | The Coca-Cola Company | Dr Pepper Snapple Group |
Cola | Pepsi | Coca-Cola | RC Cola |
Diet Cola | Diet Pepsi / Pepsi Light
Pepsi Next | Diet Coke / Coca-Cola Light
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| This section requires expansion. (June 2008) |
Coca-Cola advertising has historically focused on wholesomeness and nostalgia for childhood. Coca-Cola advertising is often characterized as "family-friendly", and often relies on "cute" characters (e.g. the Coca-Cola polar bear mascot and Santa Claus around Christmas).
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 the original 'Classic' Coke after recently introducing New Coke.
Pepsi ads often focused on celebrities choosing Pepsi over Coke, supporting Pepsi's positioning as "The Choice of a New Generation." Pepsi generation was created focusing on the user of the drink, never the drink. Coke always focused on the drink. Pepsi focused on the person using it. They showed people riding dirt bikes, waterskiing, or kite flying, hang gliding — doing different things. And at the end of it there would always be a Pepsi as a reward. This all happened when color television was first coming in. They were the first company to do lifestyle marketing. The first and the longest-running lifestyle campaign was and still is Pepsi. In 1975, Pepsi began showing people doing blind taste tests called Pepsi Challenge in which they preferred one product over the other, and then they began hiring more and more popular spokespersons to promote their products. In their hope to win the Cola Wars a Concorde was painted blue with PEPSI written across it in white lettering. In the late 1990s, Pepsi launched its most successful long-term strategy of the Cola Wars, Pepsi Stuff. Consumers were invited to "Drink Pepsi, Get Stuff" and collect Pepsi Points on billions of packages and cups. They could redeem the points for free Pepsi lifestyle merchandise. After researching and testing the program for over two years to ensure that it resonated with consumers, Pepsi launched Pepsi...