The process of positioning a brand or product is a complex managerial task and must be done over time using all the elements of the marketing mix. Positioning is in the mind of the consumer and can be described as how the product is considered by that consumer, which enables to develop a character statement and thus a personality.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi have always been similar in their “fun and young” personalities, the two brands have always been on separate paths over the decades. On the one hand, Pepsi has stuck with its high energy, music and comedy-driven strategy; on the other hand, Coke can be seen constantly gravitating towards the emotional side of branding.
Coca-Cola ads are about human experience in two ways. First, before global branding strategy becomes the trend we know today, Coca-Cola was embracing diversity. This can be clearly seen in its long-running “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” series of ads, showing people from all over the globe joining together in Coke and song. Nostalgic people, check it out:
Moreover, Coca-Cola is available in countries all across the world. As noticed before, it’s even rumored to be the most recognizable brand, logo and even word on the planet.
When Coca-Cola isn’t targeting diversity, it still has a strong sense of community through universal similarities such as a love for Coke.
The second way that Coke has leveraged the human experience is throughout families.
Pepsi always stayed aimed right at children but Coke seems to know that Mom are the buyers; they played on emotions and feeling moms know and are sensitive too. Coca Cola communicates as the product desired by the whole family and as a daily life product.
This is more an evidence during Christmas period where families are targeted, through for example a polar bear family.
This occurs all over Coca-Cola’s advertising throughout the years but is never more evident than in Coke’s Christmas ads. Whether its an endearing scene of a father and son watching the Santa Coke truck go by or a family of polar bears consistently being brought together by Coke, the Christmas ads are aimed right at the hearts of American consumers.
Pepsi has always had a young target audience. Their ads were historically targeted at teens and even pre-teens and are injected with fun, sports and most often, music. Pepsi has leveraged all manner of musical celebrities over the years, from Ray Charles to Britney Spears.
Here is a commercial on YouTube featuring Michael Jackson and a group of kids that are probably far too young to legally target for such a sugary product nowadays.
When Pepsi wasn’t using musical celebrities, humor was their weapon of choice, again utilizing young kids in the ads. Who could forget the lovable little girl telling the bartender, “I asked for a Pepsi Pal” in the voice of the Godfather?