The above video is Coca-Cola’s 2012 Christmas commercial currently airing on TV. Since Coca-Cola has typically heavied-up their advertising during this time of the year, this is nothing unusual or out of the ordinary. However, one has to wonder why Pepsi has not done the same thing – increase their TV and other media exposure for their soft drink bevearges. Pepsi’s recent focus has been announcing a new spokesperson (Nicki Minaj), a creative collaboration (Beyoncé) and quietly phasing in a different formula (for Diet Pepsi). Is it because Coca-Cola tends to own the majority of the soft drink business during Christmas time, when they are also able to secure large displays in grocery retailers like the one below? Is Pepsi giving up on Christmas advertising, and choosing to hold their TV dollars for another time of the year?
While many people from the advertising industry say that dressing Santa Claus in red to resemble the Coca-Cola colors was manufactured by Coca-Cola, that simply is not true. What Coca-Cola has done is take advantage of this association with the color red, and played it up in their advertising to benefit themselves. And because of the close association, many people would think of Coca-Cola more than Pepsi during Christmas time. This has traditionally helped the soft drink giant “win” Christmas time, but Pepsi not advertising during this time may also have played a role.
Instead of Christmas media, Pepsi has made headlines by aligning themselves with music artists and preparing for the Superbowl. I thought Pepsi’s 2011 Summer Santa commercial (link to post here) had a lot of promise to return during the Christmas but they have never replayed the one commercial or added any more in the series. Even with the close association to music artists, Pepsi has not made any additional commercials for the holiday season. This certainly leads me to think that Pepsi recognizes the difficulties of breaking through Coca-Cola’s media support during this time of the year. And instead of competing head on with them, they have chosen to “win” other times of the year, such as the Superbowl.
Better be prepared for lots of Pepsi advertisements during the Superbowl to accompany the Beyoncé halftime show.