Coca-cola versus Pepsi
Coca-cola versus Pepsi
Coca-cola and Pepsi have been the leading products in the market when it comes to soda drinks. Visiting their websites allows the guest to see more of the brand, its associated colors and themes, and the culture it tries to project.
By way of color, any common person would know that Coca-Cola and Pepsi are not only different from each other; they are practically opposites. Color trademarks have been used for consumer products to distinguish themselves from a competitor, of course in a very generic manner. Thus we can see that these two products are in close competition with each other. Indeed, Coca-Cola is red, Pepsi is blue; the former is warm and the latter is cool. Now the meaning behind these color trademarks indicates the particular culture in which the product is known. Coca-Cola openly uses the themes family, love, Christmas, hospitality, and teamwork because they suggest warmness. Indeed, it has found its way through holidays particularly father’s, mother’s, and grandparent’s days, valentine’s days, national and patriotic holidays and sports. Among the best proof of its reliance on its warmness, even white bears were used to advertise the product. And yet, why it does not seem outdated even
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For Pepsi, however, since it started later than the former, it had to think of a better way to distinguish itself from then popular brand, and the best choice is blue. Therefore, from starting out with the opposite hue, it had to continue with everything else about the competing soda. Cool became the basic theme of Pepsi. Unlike Coca-Cola, everything in the Pepsi website indicates coolness, which includes the warm weather when consumers want to be cooled, trendy stuffs that consumers find cool, such as new gadgets, car races, and hip things. Coca-Cola’s advantage is that it appeals to the warming needs of its consumers, particularly of the family who basically buys the brand for reunions and birthdays when they gather together. However, Pepsi’s advantage lies on the things and people it associates itself with. Because cool and trendy products, activities and celebrities can practically lead a consumer from one good to another, Pepsi has a sure fire way to get into the consumer’s money. Indeed, the website says it all…everything is blue and new! Modernity has been the trend and Pepsi uses it to target the most vulnerable consumers – teenagers.
Based on the color and the attributed culture alone, Coca-Cola and Pepsi diverge from the purpose in which their websites were established. Although they mainly set their websites to advertise their product, the former seems to be more attuned to advertising its culture and evoking the feeling of home and relaxation to the visitor, whereas the latter focuses more on promoting the brand by way of its culture. Thus, Coca-Cola website has far lesser count of words used than the Pepsi website. Coca-Cola mainly uses pictures, particularly of the abstract type to evoke the feeling of “warmness”. Only the following words were placed in their site: music, sports, coke side of life, about the company, careers and their trademark motto “Make Every Drop Count.” These words were not even emphasized; the colors used for the text and even the size of the font are dead and small, respectively. Moreover, they were placed at the far north and south of the site. “Music” being placed first and earlier than sports and the rest suggests that Coca-Cola intends the visitor to check out the music first. This is another strategy to “refresh” the memory of the visitor of the times he/she took a sip of the soda. On the other hand, Pepsi makes use of quite a number of words to attract the guest. A quick look at the site tells the visitor that it has many “cool” things in store for him/her. The “flash” nature of the site is consistent with “modernity,” as the contemporary generation is usually characterized as fast-paced. It is also a good strategy to stop boring the visitor because with one move of the mouse, almost everything displayed on the screen changes. Among the number of “cool” things that Pepsi offers based on their website under the general headings are entertainment, promotions, ads & more, cause, products, pepsico, join and shop. Entertainment as the first text aside from “home” is consistent with Pepsi’s use of the trendy as the entertainment section is usually filled with new and “in” stuffs that most consumers buy and patronize. Thus, if the visitor finds that his/her favorite singer, dancer, music and celebrities promote Pepsi, then Pepsi might be “cool” too. Following this assumption leads the visitor to check out “promotions” and “ads & more”, Pepsi’s strategy to strengthen the assumption from a “might” to a “be,” so that ‘Pepsi “might” be cool’ becomes ‘Pepsi IS c-o-o-l!’. Then it tries to justify its coolness from shifting the visitor’s perception from it being ONLY cool to something COOL and NOBLE by means of its “cause.” After which, it begins to advertise its “products” and its “company.” But what is astonishing with the website is that it tries to take hold of their visitors more than Coca-Cola. Including the “join” and “shop” sections promises the visitor of more things to come. Basically, therefore, both websites use a means to “hypnotize” (for Coca-Cola) and “indoctrinate” (for Pepsi) the visitors into their culture before they introduce their products.
What separates the Coca-Cola website from Pepsi lies in its deep concern with the visitor to be a long-term member of the company. Including the section “careers” gives the visitor a sense of being cared for by the company, unlike Peps which implies an authoritarian mode by the statement “I want to serve Pepsi”. Assuming and illogical, maybe, but including that section in the website means that the company does not only want your money, they also want you to work with them. It is also a variant of the “bandwagon” especially if the visitor knows someone who works for the company. After all, who does not want to get associated to such a BIG company? Another good thing about the Coca-Cola website is that it appeals to national identity. Accessing the official website automatically leads the visitor to the Coca-Cola Website intended for the country where the visitor is located.
In terms of credibility, it is almost impossible to detect which website appeals to ethos more than the other. One basic reason for this is that both brands are very popular and are internationally recognized and consumed. These brands belong to multi-national companies that spend millions of international currencies to advertise and sell their products. Furthermore, they have established their credibility for years and many people patronize and work for these companies. Thus, judging credibility based only from the website they presented is difficult to gauge since it is almost impossible to isolate the credibility they have already established outside of the web page. However, if judging whether the web site looks “real” for the advertised product, both fairs almost the same. First, their URL address shouts the name of the company and stands independently. “Naming” the website by using only the company name already spells “credibility.” Second, both of them are professional-looking, which means that both companies probably hired the best web designers to make them look good for the online consumers.
Coca-Cola’s and Pepsi’s website are very important means for them to encourage online consumers to buy their products and increase their sales. They appeal to emotion and logic very differently and on various categories of audiences. Both of them naturally espouse culture by way of color to mark their trade and to indicate that close competition between the two companies prompts the buyer to try both products. Difference in culture leads to difference in the target consumer and the means to convince them to buy the products. This may seem that both companies did well in promoting their products online; however, compared to Pepsi, Coca-Cola deserves a thumb’s up for the overall impact of its website. Although it is not very catchy, modern and trendy, and although it is a bit boring at first glance, the effects of the pictures – mixture of abstract and concrete forms of art – had a longer lasting effect than that of the “flashy” Pepsi website. The relaxing attitude of its website is the best way to attract consumers (especially online consumers!) to take a break and unwind from the fast-paced nature of the Internet. So in the end, it does not matter which one “looks” better. In the business world, it is not the good-looking that wins, it’s the one that moves the economy.
PepsiCo, Inc. Pepsi. 2008. 29 April 2008. < http://www.pepsi.com>.
The Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola. 2007. 29 April 2008. < http://www.coca-cola.com >.