At first glance, the marketing strategies of Coke and Pepsi — the two ubiquitous, global players that have dominated the soft drink market for decades — might appear more similar than different. Each brand deploys decidedly feel-good creative in its advertising, branding, email marketing and loyalty programs, around consistently happy-go-lucky themes like summertime, nightlife and Santa Claus. And yet, upon closer inspection, each has a distinctly unique marketing strategy.?
Each company spends a bucketload promoting its soda brands, but much less than in the past. The Coca-Cola Co. last year laid out $253 million on soda advertising while PepsiCo invested $153 million compared with $377 million and $348, respectively, back in 2005, as The Wall Street Journal reports.?
Sales of Pepsi-Cola and Diet Pepsi last year dropped by 4.8% and 5.2% respectively, while sales of Coca-Cola and Diet Coke slipped by 0.5% and 1%, according to media reports. Also last year, Pepsi fell from No. 2 to No. 3 in US sales, behind Coke and now Diet Coke. Representatives for both companies declined to comment ?for this story. ?
Despite that, Pepsi has indicated that it is taking off the gloves when it comes to confronting its principal rival. This summer it launched its first ad campaign in three years, "Summer Time Is Pepsi Time," which included a TV spot featuring Santa Claus — star of iconic Coca-Cola ads throughout the years — living it up on the beach. ?