The Coca Cola Company vs. PepsiCo

In the last decade, the Coca Cola Company and PepsiCo Inc have both embraced social media in order to reinforce their global presence. Their marketing strategy ranges from the use of quintessential social medial tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube to new and innovative projects as well as mega global campaigns aimed at generating buzz and media content about their wide range of products. To that effect, on New Year’s Day 2010, Coca Cola started “Expedition 206”, a campaign that enlisted three young adults tasked to travel to the 206 countries where Coca-Cola was sold at the time and find out what makes people happy in those countries. The campaign was a success as the globetrotters documented their journey through blogs, Twitter and Facebook updates, Flickr photos, and YouTube video. According to [5], the project generated 650 media impressions worldwide throughout 2010. On April 30, 2012, PepsiCo started a global campaign of its own called the “Live for Now” campaign. According to PepsiCo’s press release, “’Live for Now’ embodies a mind-set that is true of Pepsi loyalists around the world, while still connecting with a large and growing number of consumers who share the same values” [3].
On March 22, 2011, Coca Cola helped the band Maroon 5 write a song in a program that generated content from fans through Coca Cola music. Fans were able to weigh in the lyrics, and rhythm of the new single. The project represented an innovative real time marketing approach aiming at promoting social media discussion.
In light of the pioneering methods used by Coca Cola in the global marketing campaign as previously highlighted, it appears that the company has an edge over PepsiCo when it comes to take the social media to the next level. However, an analysis of the numbers of their followers and interactions do not show a huge difference as shown below.

Data
CokePepsi

Challenges
Both Coca Cola and Pepsi face some of the same challenges on social media in terms of geo-presence and the multitude of their products to convey a single and clear message that represents the brand as a whole but at the same time reflect the particularity of each product. As a result, both companies have plethora of regional and product specific pages that at times give the impression of an incoherent social strategy.

Sources
1. 5 Ways Pepsi’s Use of Social Media is Right On http://socialmediatoday.com/synecoretech/509355/5-ways-pepsis-use-social-media-right
2. Coca Cola Expedition 206. http://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/exhibits/coca-cola-expedition-206/
3. http://www.pepsico.com/PressRelease/Pepsi-Launches-First-Global-Campaign-Live-For-Now04302012.html
4. http://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/
5. Expedition 206: Revisiting Coke’s Epic Quest for the Source of Happiness http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/expedition-206-revisiting-cokes-epic-quest-for-the-source-of-happiness

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