Coca-Cola vs Pepsi: 10 facts about the century-old confrontation of drinks

(ORDO NEWS) — What will you be – Coke or Pepsi? This question is almost religious. And so it has always been.

The funny thing is that the centenary brand war is not a confrontation of tastes at all, but pure marketing from beginning to end.

Popular Mechanics decided to find out what Santa Claus and soda have in common, why the recipe for one drink is sealed and another can be found on Wikipedia, why Marshal Zhukov needed a transparent Cola, and how Rospotrebnadzor treats American soda – about everything in order.

Twice Bankrupt

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Before becoming that very well-known transnational corporation PepsiCo, the company managed to survive two bankruptcies.

The first time the company went bankrupt was in 1923, when World First sugar prices skyrocketed from 3 cents to 28 cents a pound. At the very beginning of the Great Depression, PepsiCo filed for bankruptcy for the second time. The Coca-Cola business developed much more evenly.

Secret composition

In 1886, Atlanta pharmacist John Stith Pemberton patented a drug for nervous system disorders and began selling it in the city’s largest pharmacy. The exact composition of natural Coca-Cola spices is a trade secret.

The original copy of the composition lies in the main vault of SunTrust Banks in Atlanta. A popular myth is that only two executives can have access to the lineup, and each can only have access to half of the information.

In turn, Caleb Bradem, another American pharmacist and part-time author of Pepsi, had to declassify the soda formula during the first bankruptcy proceedings in 1923.

First ad fight

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During the Great Depression, PepsiCo launched a multi-year marketing battle between the two giants. Both sodas were sold through vending machines: Pepsi-Cola began to be sold in bottles of 12 ounces at five cents a bottle, Coca-Cola cost the same, but it was bottled at half the price.

Coca-Cola couldn’t cut the price because the vending machines only accepted nickels, and the company had a huge inventory of a billion six-ounce bottles.

“You pay as before, you get twice as much” – the slogan of PepsiCo, which wiped Coca-Cola’s nose until 1939, until the competitor finally switched to new volume glass containers. But time is money: PepsiCo spent $600,000 on an advertising campaign in 1939, while Coca-Cola had to fork out as much as $15 million.

Cocaine in the composition

The main ingredients of Coca-Cola were as follows: three parts coca leaves (yes, the same one from which cocaine is obtained), to one part tropical cola tree nuts. Until 1903, when cocaine was banned, Coca-Cola contained up to 9 mg of the drug.

The original composition of Pepsi included the same cola nut extract, and instead of coca leaves, Bradem used pepsin, a globular protein, an enzyme in gastric juice. With the help of “Pepsi” treated indigestion.

Modern Santa Claus

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A cheerful grandfather with a gray beard and in a red suit is a modern image of Santa Claus, which was invented by Coca-Cola advertisers in 1931.

Before that, Santa, firstly, could dress as he liked, and secondly, he was not a bearded grandfather at all, but an elf. Since then, the companies have conditionally divided the market: Coca-Cola has taken on traditional family values, and Pepsi has taken on the next generation and youth in general.

Cola for Marshal Georgy Zhukov

During World War II, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, Dwight Eisenhower, once treated Georgy Zhukov with a Coke.

The Soviet marshal really liked the soda, but so that drinking it in public places was not considered in the USSR as a worship of the symbol of American imperialism, he asked to make Cola colorless. Georgy Konstantinovich said this to General Clark, who conveyed the request to President Harry Truman.

Truman, in turn, contacted James Farley, chairman of the board of the Coca-Cola Export Corporation. So there was a colorless batch of “Cola” with a volume of 50 boxes, which was poured into transparent glass bottles with a white cap and a red star in the center.

Pepsi conquers the USSR

The right of exclusive use of a trademark on the territory of the Soviet Union was registered by PepsiCo in the Bureau for Registration of Trademarks of the People’s Commissariat of the USSR back in 1938.

However, for the first time, Soviet citizens were able to taste imperialist soda only in 1959 at the US Industrial Products exhibition, which was held in Sokolniki.

Pepsi was drunk by both ordinary visitors and Nikita Khrushchev himself, but production was launched much later – in 1971, the first negotiations on this topic were held.

The company was in a hurry to increase its visual presence in the city, since in 1980 the capital of the USSR hosted the Summer Olympic Games, the traditional sponsor of which was Coca-Cola.

Pepsi recaptured the Soviet market, in part, thanks to exclusive rights to produce cola in the USSR (an entire type of carbonated sweet drink, often containing caffeine), but Coca-Cola lost the battle not dry. For the Olympics, the company set up production in the Fanta Councils.

Swap vodka for soda

In 1972, the USSR and the USA agreed on bilateral trade. PepsiCo bought Stolichnaya brand vodka, and the Soviet side used the convertible currency received from the sale of vodka to buy Pepsi concentrate abroad, which was diluted with carbonated water already on the territory of the USSR at enterprises approved by the American side. The volume of concentrate imports directly depended on the export volume of Stolichnaya.

Check from Rospotrebnadzor

In the summer of 2014, Rospotrebnadzor experts conducted a study and concluded that both Coca-Cola and Pepsi are relatively safe carbonated drinks. At least both manufacturers honestly indicate the full composition and sugar content on the label and do not violate the law, unlike many other local brands.

Yes, both products contain phosphoric acid – food additive E338, which is three times cheaper than citric acid. Thanks to her soda, you can remove scale in the kettle and clean plumbing. But according to independent experts, these are “flowers” ​​compared to what is in other sodas presented on our market.

What’s the best soda?

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In 1975, PepsiCo decided to conduct a blind test to find out which drink tasted better. The bottom line was that in several shopping centers in the United States, people tried two sodas in turn, which they poured into simple glasses, and then chose what they liked best.

According to the results, Pepsi outperformed Coke by a third of the votes. Subsequently, PepsiCo actively used this fact in its advertising campaigns, but even despite this, Coca-Cola is far ahead in terms of sales volume, recognition and brand value.


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