I’ll never forget when I made the decision to stop drinking Coca-Cola products.
I’ll never forget when I made the decision to stop drinking Coca-Cola products. I was in middle school drinking a Coke can and wondering why it wasn’t as good as Pepsi.
The intention of this article is not to start a fight with any Coke drinkers. When Pepsi Vanilla is not available (which is a lot, since it goes in and out of production) or when I’m at a Coke-sponsored event, I’m guilty of walking past the beverage barricade. I have a deep respect for Coca-Cola as a powerhouse business and as a catalyst for soft drink companies everywhere. I am also not writing this to condone drinking soft drinks; I rarely treat myself to a soda anymore, now that I know the benefits of a glass of water. I’m simply sharing my opinion of why I like Pepsi better than its competitor.
People who say Pepsi has more flavor than Coca-Cola use a similar vocabulary. “Sweeter” and "smoother” are words I have witnessed both in-person and online. My parents at a family dinner commented that Pepsi tastes more like “soda” without all the “fizz”. If you compare two 8-ounce bottles of both brands you will find these statements are truthful. Nutritional labels prove that Pepsi has more caffeine and sugar, and Coca-Cola has more sodium.
One of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read, The Cola Wars by Harvey Yazijian and Louis J.C., magnifies the difference between Cola and Pepsi. While Cola has more citric ingredients (along with an alleged secret ingredient the company has called “X” for years, which I believe might just be hype), Pepsi has a “peppery” sweeter flavor with 10% more sugar. In 1975 Pepsi was so confident they had a better taste that they hosted the famous event called Pepsi Challenge, in which consumers were blindfolded and had to pick the better taste with Pepsi always ending up as the victor.
Coca-Cola’s advertisements generally bore me to sleep. Since the company has existed, its strategy has focused on emphasizing its tradition as the “first” soft drink, and being the symbol of American life. The Cola Wars suggests that instead of just showing Coke bottles, Pepsi targets people enjoying the product. Since the "Pepsi generation" of the '60s, the business has focused on the ingenuity and “experience” of the product rather than tradition. While I have enjoyed some Coca-Cola commercials—for example, their '90s jingle “can’t beat the real thing”—Pepsi is genuinely better at keeping up with the current times.
Both companies have had their share of endorsing celebrities, like the beautiful Jennifer Lopez who has been a spokesperson for both at different times in her life. Most of the time these endorsements are linked with money, but I usually like Pepsi’s choices more. I’ll hand it to Coca-Cola that they nabbed Whitney Houston, Keanu Reeves, and Jack White in their favor. However, they have also sponsored Paula Abdul, Bruce Jenner, and Ty Burrell. On the flip side, Pepsi spokespeople have included Beyoncé, Ozzy Osbourne, Enrique Iglesias, Michael J. Fox, Victoria Beckham, and Sofia Vergara. Which company do you think has better parties?
Not only has Pepsi dealt with bankruptcy twice, but they are constantly losing a battle with Coca-Cola’s sales. It wasn’t until 1979 that Pepsi topped Coca-Cola with $140 million more in sales, but Coca-Cola quickly rose back up and has been relatively stable since. The company had a $600,000 budget in 1939 compared to Coca-Cola’s $15 million. They have had to rely on ingenuity throughout the years, and in the process made one of the first ad jingles ever: “nickel nickel.”
Around 1999, Pepsi decided to market Aquafina water as a healthier choice in a world that was counting calories, and Coca-Cola only followed in 2003. Pepsi also branched into many foods besides beverages, including Sun Chips, Cracker Jacks, Quaker, Doritos, and Rice-A-Roni. Coca-Cola still sticks mostly to beverages, such as Minute Maid and Capri Sun.
I'll Take a Pepsi!
Both companies have skeletons and their ingredients are extremely similar, yet Pepsi is generally more approachable and doesn't remind me of a grumpy grandpa the way Coca-Cola does. For that reason, I will enjoy a Pepsi treat when given the choice.
© 2015 Sara Psychedelic