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The Coke Pepsi Rivalry: Pepsi Vs. Coke The cola wars had become a part of global folklore - something all of us took for granted. However, for the companies involved, it was a matter of 'fight or succumb.' Both print and electronic media served as battlefields, with the most bitter of the cola wars often seen in form of the comparative advertisements.

In the early 1970s, the US soft-drinks market was on the verge of maturity, and as the major players, Coke and Pepsi offered products that 'looked the same and tasted the same,' substantial market share growth seemed unlikely. However, Coke and Pepsi kept rejuvenating the market through product modifications and pricing/promotion/distribution tactics. As the competition was intense, the companies had to frequently implement strategic changes in order to gain competitive advantage. The only way to do this, apart from introducing cosmetic product innovations, was to fight it out in the marketplace. This modus operandi was followed in the Indian markets as well with Coke and Pepsi resorting to more innovative tactics to generate consumer interest. | |
In essence, the companies were trying to increase the whole market pie, as the market-shares war seemed to get nowhere. This was because both the companies came out with contradictory market share figures as per surveys conducted by their respective agencies - ORG (Coke) and IMRB (Pepsi). For instance, in August 2000, Pepsi claimed to have increased its market share for the first five months of calendar year 2000 to 49% from 47.3%, while Coke claimed to have increased its share in the market to 57%, in the same period, from 55%.

Media reports claimed that the rivalry between Coke and Pepsi had ceased to generate sustained public interest, as it used to in the initial years of the cola brawls worldwide. They added that it was all just a lot of noise to hardsell a…...

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