The Legendary Marketing Rivalry: Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi

The Origins

It all started back in the late 1800s when both Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola were invented by pharmacists. Pepsi was introduced in 1898 while Coca-Cola was first created in 1886. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s when the rivalry really began to take shape.

The Battle of the Advertisements

Coca-Cola and Pepsi began to compete fiercely through advertising campaigns. Coca-Cola launched their famous “It’s the real thing” slogan and associated their brand with happiness, family, and togetherness. On the other hand, Pepsi embraced youth and modernity with their “The Pepsi Generation” campaigns.

The Taste Test Challenge

In the 1970s, Pepsi began promoting their soda by conducting blind taste tests against Coca-Cola, known as the “Pepsi Challenge.” This campaign led to Pepsi briefly surpassing Coca-Cola in market share in 1985.

The New Coke Fiasco

In 1985, Coca-Cola made the controversial decision to change their formula and release “New Coke.” The reception was overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula, renamed “Coca-Cola Classic,” was brought back. This debacle gave Pepsi a significant advantage in the cola market.

The Present Day

The rivalry between Coca-Cola and Pepsi is still ongoing, with each company constantly releasing new products and advertisements to one-up each other. Coca-Cola has branched out into other beverages such as Minute Maid, Powerade, and Dasani, while Pepsi has expanded into snack foods like Fritos and Doritos through their ownership of Frito-Lay.


The marketing rivalry between Coca-Cola and Pepsi has spanned over a century, and both companies have used various strategies to gain an edge over the other. The battle between these two soda giants has become a part of popular culture and will continue as each company looks to dominate the beverage industry.