Going on for more than a century, Coke vs. Pepsi has been one of the most legendary competitions in business. In contrast to popular belief, the winner of the game is not that clear on all fronts. For example, Coke has a big lead in cola market share over Pepsi, but Pepsi's multiple business lines haul in more cash. In the last decade, Coke's market share has risen from 17.3% to 17.8%, while Pepsi's has dropped from 10.3% to 8.4%, according to Beverage Digest, a trade publication. PepsiCo's shares have gained 19.45% for the last twelve months and 49.20% for the last five years, compared to 15.75% and 22.13% for Coca-Cola. The most important thing is that both companies have underperformed the overall market. Let’s concentrate on the reasons for this and what they can do to overcome this problem.
People are more serious about eating healthy. The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting are the latest trends. On the one hand, the keto diet is expanding towards a carnivore diet, which is consuming meat only, on the other hand, eating vegan has been continuously getting famous for more than a decade now. Whatever the direction they take, people are getting more and more serious about how healthy their diets are.
Since they contain severe amounts of sugar, the regular and' flagship' products of soda brands are losing credibility when it comes to healthy nutrition, since no-sugar diets are getting more and more popular. More bad news for them is that their diet and/or sugar-free products are losing ground in the market as well. Although they don't contain sugar, these products are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, acesulfame-k or sucralose, and their effects on health are controversial. It doesn't matter if the scientists have proved them unhealthy or not (keep in mind that there are some studies linking diet soda to diabetes and heart disease), they are not included in the latest trending diets. If anything, they are proven to be not nutritious.
Scientific studies have shown that more women than men desire weight loss. Furthermore, with respect to gender, it has been noted in academic researches that men often are unwilling and lack the motivation to engage with health-related information.
It makes sense if you think about it. First of all, men might lose weight more quickly since they usually have more muscle, while women have more fat. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, men can burn more calories at rest than women.
Second, since men are larger than women on average and have more muscle to support, they can usually consume more calories while still losing weight, compared to women.
As a result of these, portion control, diet, in other words, is more important for women than it is to men.
This brings us to the natural conclusion that soda companies should focus on advertising more to men. By relocating some of their advertisement resources from target audiences such as women, families, etc. to men, they can maximize their spendings. This is even more true for Coke than it's for Pepsi since, in the US, men (52.6%) prefer Pepsi over women (47.4%).
The best way to advertise for men is, of course, addressing their values. Coke has already done this successfully in 2016 with its 'Brotherly Love' Super Bowl Commercial, which was considered as an advertising masterpiece. This success makes it more difficult to understand why Coke and Pepsi have not been continuing this road and advertising more heavily on men.
Apart from the brotherhood, men gatherings and meat and hunting are also popular among men. So, having campaigns based on these themes is the best way to go for soda companies. Men drinking Coke or Pepsi when they get together to watch a football game, go hunting, have a cooking and grilling party, etc. are some ideas to start with.
Concentrating more on men doesn't mean ignoring women, of course. Soda companies should increase awareness of their diet and sugar-free products to respond to consumer concerns about healthier drink alternatives.
They also should start using eco-friendly, sustainable packaging materials for soda cans, bottles, and packaging and have campaigns to announce these changes, which will please people who are more into environmental issues. The researches show that this target audience is mostly women.
Let's say you have come to understand that you should advertise more to men than women. What's next? Now you have to know what's trending lately amongst your target audience. 'Trends' feature of Kimola's Consumer Research Platform can be a great help.