Who will win the 2014 World Cup: Coke or Pepsi?

By: Jenifer Wetterau

Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo are always battling for consumer attention surrounding big events and the World Cup is no exception. What’s exciting this time? The soft drink giants are battling it out for PR headlines and video content with real-time, interactive branded experiences.

Coca-Cola Company

This year, FIFA sponsor Coca-Cola launched its first global real-time marketing campaign around the World Cup. They will generate insight from social data to analyze and respond to real-time feedback from fans across 14 platforms during the matches.

In April, Coke released a digital “One World, One Game” documentary telling the story of how four football teams from different parts of the world overcame difficulties through their love of the sport. They are backing this with their third “Trophy Tour” which is a 221-day tour that will take the Jules Rimet Prize to every country that has won the World Cup.  People in every city the tour stops in will be able to take a picture with the trophy. Additionally, Coke will be giving out 1 million free samples of soda and branded footballs “to encourage people to take part in more physical activity.” A series of short “Where Will Happiness Strike Next” films will also be captured during the tour further supporting the content drive with real-time marketing activity.

Joseph Tripodi, chief marketing and commercial officer at the Coca-Cola Company, says: “Through ‘The World’s Cup’ campaign, Coca-Cola wants to celebrate real people playing football, demonstrating how the game is a force for a more inclusive and connected world.”


Pepsi is looking to steal Coke’s spotlight with their own World Cup campaign, #FutbolNow with FC Barcelona player, Lionel Messi fronting it. The campaign includes nearly 100 companies and promotes brand ambassador Janelle Monae’s remix of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” The song is used in a TV ad, “Now Is What You Make It” featuring Messi and other World Cup hopefuls and following Icelandic rapper Stony in Rio playing the song on Pepsi bottles and other everyday objects. While watching the ad fans can unlock original content at various points.

Pepsi also created a documentary, “The Art of Football” that explores their art collection of street art, photography and football.

Where I think where Pepsi trumps Coke is by giving fans a unique and immersive experience with their #FutbolNow skills challenge featured on 20 interactive vending machines around the world. A large video screen on the front of the machines allows users to play a motion-sensor football game with free drinks as a reward if you can keep a virtual ball in the air for 30 seconds while doing all the moves prompted on the screen. They are directly getting people who are engaging with Pepsi to simultaneously engage in physical activity.

When you add in a game component you will attract far more people than if you didn’t use something interactive with a competitive component to it. This should prove to be a big winner with hype spreading through word of mouth, rather than direct advertising.

Kristin Patrick, global chief marketing officer for beverages at PepsiCo, says the campaign aims to build on its “long-history” of working with the world’s best football talent. “Our content plan to capture this spirit celebrates the creative passion of footballers with music and how both of these awesome forces inspire us to Live For Now.”

Both of these marketing campaigns are well thought out and will be successful and by connecting people around their favorite soda with fun, interactive content each company is strengthening the perception of their brand. Although I am a diehard Cherry Coke Zero loyalist, I give the trophy to Pepsi this year. In both you get a free soda but nothing beats the sweet satisfaction from showing off your skills in front of friends and strangers to earn the reward and bragging rights!

What do you think of these multi-layered campaigns? Are you more enticed by Coke’s connected world theme or Pepsi’s focus on physical activity? As always we welcome your comments and if you like what you read, please be social and share.


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