Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No more blues for Pepsi in China

Which one is Coke and which one is Pepsi?

Two colors have dominated the soda scene for the last 50 some odd years – Blue and Red. Pepsi donning the blue and Coke in the recognizable red. That standard has been perpetuated the world over wherever Coke and Pepsi put up their flags – except in China. In a place of tradition Pepsi has departed from tradition and launched a red can in a move to support China’s national sports team. The new can has an “uncanny” (sorry, couldn’t resist) resemblance to Coca-Cola’s Olympics-themed cans. The conundrum is most likely the result of a sponsorship battle taking place with the 2008 Olympics. Coke has exclusive contracts with some of the Olympic athletes and is the official sponsor of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Pepsi, on the other hand, is a sponsor of Team China, the national team that represents China in various international sporting events including the Asian Games.

The red can is a temporary promotion that will last only until the end of the year. The battle for the Chinese soda consumer has rough with Coke holding a 51% market share and Pepsi at only 30%. Euromonitor, however, shows that Pepsi sales last year were up 93% more than in 2000 while Coke’s 2006 numbers were only up by 70% more than 2000. There’s more to the can though. In a contest that drew 2.46 million submissions Chinese consumers submitted pictures of themselves rooting for Team China and then 140 million votes were cast to select which pictures would be used on the new cans. This isn’t the first time Pepsi has made changes to the color of the can - last year Brazil saw yellow and green Pepsi cans as part of a national promotion.

1 comment:

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