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Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's the Cola

Pepsi is a very successful company in its own right, however their pursuit of Coca-Cola can be compared to one thing.
Wile E. Coyote keeps ordering new tools, trying new tactics, and continually fails to catch the Roadrunner. The only winner in Wile's incessant attempts is the Acme Company who continues to profit off of him.

Do you really want to catch the roadrunner, or should you set your sights on something different? Why spend all that money to make Mr. Acme rich?

Back in the better days, Pepsi was the choice of a new generation. Their advertising had a fun and youthful feel that still applied to everyone (remember, no matter how old we are, we want to be thought of as young). Though Coca-Cola has always been number 1, Pepsi wasn't too far behind. It was this threatening market position, and the results of the Pepsi Challenge that led Coca-Cola to make the colossal mistake of introducing New Coke.

Coke reversed their mistake, and for the most part kept their message strong. Meanwhile, Pepsi continued to chase them by using every celebrity and package redesign possible. In 2002, sales of Pepsi were 35% behind Coca-Cola in sales. The slogan was "Think young. Drink young." Then they abandoned the new generation. 2003 brought "The joy of Pepsi." 2004, "It's the cola." Now they are attempting to "Refresh Everything."

Notice anything about the new slogans? They're all head-on attacks against Coke. Joy, refreshment, and all about being "The Real Thing" are brand essences of Coca-Cola. The Acme Company was selling Pepsi countless logo revisions while their advertising messages were making people think about Coke. Today, they sit 41% behind the real thing.

When it comes to your business, do you want to be Wile E. Coyote, and constantly chase the Roadrunner? Or would you rather set a goal that won't have you always the one to have the anvil drop on you?

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