Video Essentials

The Cola Wars Are Still Being Fought, But Now They’re on YouTube

Are you old enough to have taken the Pepsi challenge? Do you remember the debut of New Coke?

The Cola Wars are a beloved artifact of the 1970s and 80s, a time when marketers competed fiercely with TV commercials and live stunts to broaden their customer base. As the online video marketing experts at Zefr revealed today in a blog post, the cola wars are still being fought, but now they’re on YouTube and consumers are doing most of the fighting.

ColaZefr analyzed brand-created and fan-created Pepsi and Coke YouTube videos. It also tallied the number of engagements, meaning the total number of likes, dislikes, and comments that each brand’s videos received.

Coke is winning this war by a wide margin, as the chart below shows. However, notice that 82 percent of Coke videos and 87 percent of Pepsi videos aren’t made by the two cola companies. Instead, they’re made by die-hard fans.

While soft drink giants once dominated the discussion with their own commercials, nowadays it’s fan culture that shapes a brand’s identity. YouTubers are conducting their own soda challenges and posting the results online. Zefr counted 731 Pepsi challenge videos on YouTube and 834 videos that taste-tested Coke and Pepsi. In this kind of a world, brands can’t control the message like they could decades ago. What they can do is shape the conversation by always being authentic.

As Zefr says, “Anything less than ‘the real thing’ is just another marketing ploy to a shrewd YouTube audience. Listen to the fans, and they will drive your success on YouTube.”


Cola image via Shutterstock.


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