Ever take a Pepsi Challenge? I did, it was in a friend’s driveway, Dave’s older sister set one up and all the neighborhood kids came by. There was a team of Coke fans vs. Pepsi fans. We had legit arguments over which was better. I was maybe 10? I remember it got heated, there was anger, name calling and some kid that kept chanting Tab over and over.
Now, I did some research, the Pepsi Challenge came to be in 1975, approximately 61% of the people choose Pepsi at the Challenges, yet Coke is the more popular soda. Coke holds 17% of the soda market, Diet Coke is in second place at 9.4% in third is Pepsi with 8.4%. So why does Pepsi win 61% of the time in a taste test? It is sweeter, so a sip of Pepsi is more pleasing than a sip of coke, yet a full can of Coke is preferred due to that same sweetness of Pepsi. The number one reason people sight for liking Coke over Pepsi is: “Pepsi is too sweet” – especially a full can at a time. I have read smart people at Pepsi knew this… and knew the challenge would work to their advantage since the Challenge was done with smaller quantities vs. the full can.
Really though, I found I read too much about this… in all honesty I could not care less, I once drank Pepsi on a regular basis, it was my coffee, I was addicted. One at breakfast, one on my nightstand before bed and a case in between. I have since given it, along with all other caffeinated drinks up. I am a Root Beer guy now (this I need to quit too) and can tell a brand by a sip if I needed too, but I don’t turn one down over the other. Why am I explaining any of this? Well, the election. The state of the country. Divisiveness of our people. I personally blame the Pepsi Challenge. I have no hard evidence – but I have my own theories – which in my blog is just as good. I am 43 years old, The Pepsi Challenge is 2 years younger than me, widen the math, people from the age of 40-60 are very familiar with the concept of the Challenge. It played a role in our formative years. It taught us to take sides. Choose one and defend it. It spilled over into other parts of our life, deep into our consciousness. And it is not alone, we have grown up with sides to stand on. Pepsi vs. Coke, McDonalds vs. Burger King, Disney vs. Warner Brothers, Chevy vs. Ford, Letterman vs. Leno, Nike vs. Adidas, Apple vs. Microsoft, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Laverne vs. Shirley, you get the idea. For the better part of 40 years we have been choosing sides, publicly, privately, subconsciously. We then had kids, and they are learning this behavior. Everyone is on sides, and they get further apart every day. The real estate in the middle must be really cheap, no one lives there anymore. There was a time if you were out and asked for a Pepsi, they say “We only have Coke” you would shrug the shoulder and say “sure”. Move on; continue with your life as if nothing bad just happened. Now, people are more likely to make a case out of it. “But I ASKED for Pepsi, not Coke.” It is personal, how dare they make a choice for you. “Come on kids, we are out of here.” I wonder if Pepsi is proud of themselves? In the end they did not really even gain any market share vs. Coke – they had one bright spot during the New Coke fiasco but it was short lived. I think most Pepsi’s money comes from Frito Lay. I hope they are happy, they did this (again no facts to back this up).
Why can’t I like both Pepsi and Coke? And bring back Tab.