The cover story in the new issue of Billboard is pretty crazy. It’s a monster story about how Coke and Pepsi are resorting to new weapons to win your cola buying dollars: Music. The story talks about campaigns from Coke starring Mark Ronson, and campaigns from Pepsi starring Nicki Minaj. Here’s a sample:
The dueling global campaigns are just the latest chapter in Coke and Pepsi’s decades-old rivalry, which has included numerous failed flavors (New Coke and Crystal Clear Pepsi, anyone?), loyalty programs (the now-defunct Pepsi Stuff and still-active My Coke Rewards), singing-competition series (“American Idol” for Coke, “The X Factor” for Pepsi) and, most recently in the States, action sports (Coke’s Mountain Dew challenger, Vault, was discontinued in 2011). Coke’s use of music as a branding tool goes back to 1899, and though Pepsi’s music strategy didn’t kick in until the 1950s, by the ’60s more than 150 original Coke jingles performed by the likes of the Who, the Supremes and Aretha Franklin wrestled for airtime with Pepsi songs from the Four Tops, Martha & the Vandellas and Jackie DeShannon (see story, page 23). The two companies have battled for supremacy in the pop music space just as they’ve battled on supermarket shelves, spending big as they do so. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are the most powerful presences in U.S. sponsorships, spending $330 million and $240 million, respectively, on entertainment and sports programs across all its brands, according to research firm IEG.
The story has an interesting conclusion: Pepsi’s recent fall behind Diet Coke and Coke was related to Pepsi not having any big campaigns starring musicians. And basically, you can expect a shit load of dueling music-related campaigns from both companies soon. Read it at Billboard.