Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Vending Happiness

While preparing for the upcoming Poultry Expo in Atlanta – which is home to the Coca Cola headquarters – I came across several articles about the “Cola Wars.”

The “Cola War,” a play off of the “Cold War,” is an ongoing state of competition between the two beverage superpowers – Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. Similar to the Cold War, the Cola Wars are characterized by high spending, competitive developments and much propaganda.

Both Coke and Pepsi are currently in the midst of new ad campaigns, complete with new slogans; and interestingly enough, both campaigns are very similar.

Given the current economic climate, and the fact that soft drink sales are declining, embarking on unique new ad campaigns – especially for companies that typically spend hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. advertising alone each year – is a risky endeavor.

But high stakes don’t appear to be bothering Coke or Pepsi one bit.

Coca-Cola’s new slogan, “Open happiness,” has big shoes to fill, as Coke has produced some of the most memorable ads and slogans in the history of advertising. (Recall: “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” from the 70’s or “Always Coca Cola” from the early 90’s.)

Pepsi is going with the new tagline, “Every Generation Refreshes the World.”

Both campaigns share the common goal of attempting to uplift spirits in tough economic times. Consumers longing for comfort and happiness need look no further than a can of soda. Quite honestly, my initial reaction is to think that consumers reach for a different type of beverage when times are tough – something a little stronger than soda – however a bottle of soda has become just as iconic and American as apple pie and baseball.

But can soda really make you forget your economic woes?

Successful marketing in hinged upon the emotional state of consumers, as well as current events. Our nation is in the midst of a very trying, yet unique time – as a new president takes the reigns of a nation in dire need of hope, inspiration and new ideas.

Pepsi has cleverly played directly on the new presidency, launching the website called “Dear Mr. President.” The site allows people to upload video messages to President Obama, all of which will be compiled and edited in the form of an open letter to the president. The site hosts messages from everyone from celebrities to animated talking cows.

Time will tell if the new campaigns are a success – and if soda manages to lift the spirits of America. But at the very least, this proves that the American mindset of steadfast competitiveness is still alive and well.


Anonymous said...

I found a website that claims to list food manufacturing facilites as a free service including any certifications they carry. I wonder when companies will start taking advantage of these things to offer more transparancy to there customers and hopefully avoid problems in the food and drink industry like the recent peanut butter situation.

Annette Coon said...

Competitiveness will never stop in the beverage industry. Look at all the hoopla going on right now about the Gizmo closure and how it's going to reshape the face of how the world sees mixed drinks. ( Don't get me wrong, it's cool, but it does leave you wondering what's going to come up next-or how long it's going to take!

Alexandra Gibson said...

Truer words. People are always looking for a way to one-up each other. Transparency? Well, the way certain regulatory agencies are cracking down that might not be as far away as you might think! And Annette, you're right-the Gizmo Closure is a blast to watch! I'd buy it for the entertainment value alone!

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous, from Anonymous-this kind of certification is long overdue, and I'm glad to hear it's out there somewhere! Annette, you're right-the Gizmo closure is going to have a huge effect on pushing other companies to find a way to keep up. This is just such a neat idea that I can't wait to see where they're going to go with it. I was reading somewhere they were going to be trying to use it in spa supplies. This should be interesting, if nothing else!

Food Recruitment said...

Its really a very COLD COLA war between two majors and both are spending a lot on advertisement and promotion but at the same time also creating opportunities for job seeker thats good and creating happiness .

Technical Food Jobs said...

I believe it takes the investment from big multinationals to start the green shoots of recovery from recession. Hopefully jobs will be created/protected and we will see a return to a sustained economy if more companies follow suit

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Combined Cycle Operation said...

Consumers longing for comfort and happiness need look no further than a can of soda. Quite honestly.

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