Coke vs Pepsi
Introducing the Competitors
In this corner, the heavyweight soda pop champion of the world... Coke! With a market capitalization of over 126 billion dollars, Coke rules the sugary soft drink shelves. Over 10 million shares of KO are publicly traded daily. Investors enjoy a comfortable 5% annual return on their investment. The Coke Corporation owns such familiar brand names as Minute Maid, Bacardi, and Nestea.
Introducing the challenger ... Pepsi! This plucky performer is no upstart in the fizzy flavored water business, no siree! Pepsi boasts a market capitalization of over 94 billion dollars as almost 8 million shares change hands each day. Pepsi products include Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Gatorade, Topicana, and Quaker Oats.
Battling for Shelf Space
With great power comes great pressure to stay on top. Actually, the top shelf is not the most desirable location for Coke or Pepsi products. "First Position" is considered, in the cola wars, the display location closest to the cash registers. Competition rages. Lawsuits fly. Soft Drink vendors negotiate for exclusivity rights, the holy grail of retail marketing. An exclusive contract cedes all shelf space to one manufacturer. Companies pay huge 'signing bonuses' to retailers for the privelge of monopolizing their store. Is it ethical? Courts have decided both ways,
Convenience Stores Rule the Market
Over 144,000 convenience stores dot the retail landscape throughout the United States. Eighty per cent sell beer, but 100 per cent sell soda, tea, and sports drinks. Per store annual sales of soft drinks totals over $72,000, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.
Convenience stores also lead every other category or retailler in sales of sports drinks. Grocery stores, mass marketers, wholesale clubs, and drug stores all lag behind. Coke markets Powerade and Pepsi markets Gatorade, which it purchased from Quaker Oats.
Diet vs Regular
Diet soft drinks contain fewer calories than their sugary counterparts. The better tasting alternative is and always will be a matter of opinion. Many devotees assert they can tell the difference while blindfolded. Logically, if they were the same, only low-cal versions would populate store shelves. Controversy rages over the possible health concerns of artificial sweeteners. Huge quantities of some synthetic sugars seem to stimulate cancer in laboratory animals. Skeptical scientists point out the absurdly large quantities that must be ingested in order to replicate these results.
Possible Health Concerns?
The first rule of advertising being "sell what you got", we can learn quite a bit about soft drinks by studying their attempts at reaching customers. Consider some of the more famous catch-phrases rolled by Coke and Pepsi:
Coke Adds Life
Have a Coke and a Smile
Come Alive! You're In The Pepsi Generation.
Pepsi, The Choice Of A New Generation.
The Joy of Pepsi
Soft drink companies put their best foot forward. Evidently they strongly desire their products to be associated with feel-good concepts and peer pressure. They obviously aren't selling nutritional benefits.
Coke in Space
In 1985 specially modified Coke cans were launched as payload aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. The cans sported special dispensers that were tested and evaluated by astronauts.
Coke engineers Arthur Rudick and William Credle applied for and received a patent (4,848,418) for a space-ready soft drink dispenser that operates without the benefit of gravity. We may safely assume that nothing now stands in the way of colonizing the moon.
Hot Tip: The patent has expired. http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/og/2001/week38/patexpi.htm
In 2008 Pepsi introduced a new product in the United Kingdom. Called Pepsi Raw, it targets health-conscious soft drinkers. This new concoction trims about 30 calories from traditional Pepsi. Fake stuff is replaced with apple parts, coffee leaves, and real sugar.