Cola is as integral to Americana as milkshakes and baseball, and few soda brands are quite so influential as Pepsi. With a history spanning more than a century, this brand shows no signs of slowing down.
Soda, Snacks, and More
Though Pepsi is known for their classic cola, the company owns many other beverage and snack brands as well. In turn, their mission is simply to create more smiles through every sip and bite. They understand that their place in the market is one of convenience, so they strive to become the most convenient beverage and snack company in the world.
With such giants as Mt. Dew, Gatorade, and Lay’s all existing within the Pepsi company sphere, it’s no wonder that they continue to grow as the world becomes increasingly faster and more focused on efficiency.
The battle between Pepsi and Coke began more than 130 years ago, as Pepsi was founded in 1898 in response to the massive success of Coca-Cola. Like Coke, early incarnations of Pepsi were a sweet, cola flavored beverage with carbonation, but Pepsi never had the same special ingredients (like cocaine) as Coke.
After falling on hard times in the first 30 years, the company enjoyed a resurgence in the mid-century when it joined efforts with Frito-Lay. Since then, the company has continued to diversify with the acquisition of fast food chains and juice brands.
Now, Pepsi is one of the largest snack and beverage producers in the world, and they just keep getting more profitable.
Trailing in The Cola Wars
Given that Pepsi was created as a response to Coke, it’s no surprise that the two have always had a heated rivalry. Being the original, Coca-Cola has held on to a strong lead in the cola market, though they have lost significant ground to Pepsi in other beverage areas.
Nonetheless, Coca-Cola remains a bigger brand, but Pepsi is a major contender in the beverage market. Plus, they have also broken into the snack food realm, which is not an area that Coke has ever explored.
Pepsi’s Popularity Contest
Despite not beating Coca-Cola out for the top cola spot, it could be argued that Pepsi has had a more successful history of marketing efforts, specifically in terms of celebrity endorsements. This trend started all the way back in 1983, when Pepsi first partnered with Michael Jackson.
Later partnerships included Madonna, Beyonce, and Ray Charles. These endorsements led to some seriously iconic advertisements, which must be considered as part of Pepsi’s success.
A Questionable Message
While the response to Pepsi’s celebrity-focused ads has been largely positive over the last 30 years, things took a slightly different turn when Kendall Jenner starred in a 2017 ad. Critics felt that the ad, in which Jenner offered authorities a Pepsi to mitigate tensions, trivialized the social movements it was referencing.
In response, Pepsi pulled the ad as a show of accountability. Their value continued to grow, so the misstep was evidently not that major. In fact, Pepsi ranks at number 29 on the Forbes list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands for 2019, with a value increase of 2% since the previous year.
Despite playing second fiddle to Coke in some ways, Pepsi has become a global force with its hands in all sorts of industries.