Coke vs. Pepsi – A Marketing Case Study

by Rob Wicker

The Cola Wars are fierce. Coke, the perennial leader in beverage sales, is still at the top of the class. And Diet Coke  just passed Pepsi to take the number two spot. Pepsi has held that number two spot for many years – so what happened?

Pepsi has been closely watched by marketers because of the innovative social media strategy it rolled out at the beginning of 2010. Pepsi deferred advertising dollars from its traditional media budget to its Pepsi Refresh Project. The idea was for consumers to submit ideas to Pepsi that would help their local community. The winning ideas would receive grants from Pepsi. The company budgeted 20 million in grants.

Pepsi hoped that the Refresh Project would get so much traction on Facebook, Twitter and through blogs, that the company could forego some of its traditional advertising. The project did generate a lot of buzz and millions of submissions, but in the end, sales of Pepsi declined.

Critics of Pepsi’s social media strategy believe that the company’s sales went down because Pepsi simply didn’t get enough exposure through social media to properly promote the brand.

 Is there a lesson here for Realtors? I think so. No one doubts that Facebook can put your name in front of a lot of people, but there’s no substitute for traditional media when it comes to building, sustaining and protecting your brand.

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