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Pepsi pips Coke to the post as it trumps the trends war

The traditional rivalry between beverage giants – Pepsi and Coca Cola – entered a new chapter as Pepsi proved to be more nimble-footed compared to Coca Cola’s tried and tested strategy. 

Till the beginning of last week, she was an unknown entity, but today she has become social media’s newest sweetheart. We are talking about 87-year old cricket fan Charulata Patel, who won over the Internet with her cheering for the Indian team at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and blessing the Men in Blue. 

Read More: Charulata Patel's Swag pose on behalf of Pepsi ignites old rivalries

Quick to tap into the latest trends, brands did not miss the opportunity to woo the octogenarian. Amul was seen highlighting Patel as ‘Grandmother India’ across its outdoor ads. 

Now Pepsi has roped in Patel to promote its Swag Anthem on YouTube, which was launched by T-Series and got around 29,537,715 views in a day. The message is to live in the moment and grab every opportunity that comes one's way, regardless of one’s age. 

In comparison, Coca-Cola, who is the official sponsor of the ICC World Cup 2019, seemed boring and staid. The beverage brand’s campaign features Bollywood actors Ranbir Kapoor and Paresh Rawal and focussed on the common man’s perspective. 

So, what do our advertising honchos think about the Pepsi-Coke rivalry? Who won the ad-battle? And why? 

Manish Bhatt, Founder-Chief Creative Officer, August Communications
“In these days of Twitter and Instagram, riding a trend well, and that too briskly, has become a useful skill. Pepsi has come out to be a clear winner by capitalising on a current trend within record time. However, the thing with trend-based communication is that it can’t be planned, all you can hope for is be alert and get lucky. So, it is Pepsi – 1 and Coke – 0 this time around. Better luck next time with a trend, Coke!” 

Lloyd Mathais, Business & Marketing Strategist, former Asia Pacific marketing head of HP
“I think Pepsi has used the soaring popularity of 87-year old Charulata Patel very well to reinforce its ‘Har ghoont mein swag’ messaging. A quick, smart and timely move by Pepsi. However, the World Cup battle has moved beyond colas to other categories these days.” 

Karthik Srinivasan, Communications consultant on digital/social media marketing & PR
“Having a competitor helps the category become buzzier, very similar to the superhero film trope – only a powerful villain can make an interesting superhero! We still remember Pepsi’s ‘Nothing Official About It’ that rivalled Coca-Cola’s official sponsorship in the 1996 World Cup.”


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