How Decades of Solid Branding Saved Coca-Cola from the Pepsi Challenge

The Pepsi Challenge was a marketing campaign started in 1975. It was simply a blind taste test between Pepsi and Coca-Cola, touting that even Coca-Cola fans choose Pepsi. It was a wildly successful marketing strategy that they revisited for decades. Coca-Cola even ran their own private tastes test, through which they found Pepsi was indeed chosen over half of the time, and panicked. They briefly released New Coke in 1985, a formula more similar to Pepsi’s cola. This initiative turned out to be one of the biggest failures in established branding history. Coca-Cola consumers were wildly disappointed. Miraculously, despite Coca-Cola’s snafu, and Pepsi’s increased market share, Coca-Cola remained number one in the soda game, and still reigns today.

In 2004, Baylor College of Medicine performed a version of the Pepsi Challenge with subjects hooked up to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. The results were interesting. In blind taste tests, most people preferred Pepsi, just like the Pepsi Challenge. The Pepsi drinks lit up activity in an area of the brain known as the ventral putamen, which helps us evaluate different flavors. It would seem that Pepsi does taste better! However, when the subjects were told which beverage they were sampling before they tasted it, they decided Coca-Cola tasted better. The fMRI scans showed the sips of Coca-Cola increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is more involved in decision making. When the subjects knew they were drinking Coca-Cola, they weren’t simply evaluating flavor, they were considering memories and experiences. The study’s conclusion was that this prefrontal activity was associating the soda with the brand, in effect, overriding the taste buds. When choosing Coca-Cola, consumers are choosing the brand they know and love. Building a successful brand is more than a good product, it’s building a comprehensive experience.

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Color Psychology

Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. Colors can cause certain emotional reactions, and even influence perceptions that are not necessarily conscious. Color psychology is used all around us, taking its cues from nature, and should be considered in marketing and branding. The following are just some common color…

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4 Things to Consider When Embarking on a Rebrand

Your brand is the foundation of your business. It communicates who you are, what you do, and why you do it. But what happens when your brand no longer aligns with your business goals or fails to resonate with your target audience? This is where a rebrand can come into play. A rebrand can help…

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The Importance of a Social Media Presence

Social media has become an integral part of our lives, with billions of people across the globe using these platforms to connect, engage, and share content. For businesses, social media provides a powerful opportunity to build brand awareness, connect with customers, and drive growth. In today’s competitive marketplace, having a social media presence is no…

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What is the Difference Between Serif and Sans-Serif Typefaces?

You may have heard the terms serif and sans-serif before, but do you know what those terms actually mean? In typography, a serif is a small line, stroke, or other decorative flair regularly attached to the end of a larger stroke in a letter or symbol within a particular font or family of fonts. “Sans”…

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Do You Need a Social Media Presence?

The answer is a definitive, yes. Maintaining a consistent social media presence helps establish your brand, enforces brand cohesiveness, helps strengthen connections with existing clients, and builds trust with potential clients. An effective social media strategy requires strategic planning and a committed effort, but has many benefits for your business. Your business’s social media content…

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Avoid These 6 Branding Mistakes

In today’s highly competitive market, a strong brand presence is essential for any business to thrive. But building and maintaining a powerful brand is no easy feat. It requires careful attention to detail, strategic planning, and consistency. Unfortunately, many businesses falter by making critical branding and marketing mistakes that can hinder their long-term success. From…

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When Should You Utilize Digital Printing?

Digital printing is probably what most people are most familiar with, since you probably have one at home. Inkjet printers and laser printers are found in many homes, schools, and offices. Of course, these are generally consumer-level digital printers. For digital printing, images are sent directly to the printer using digital files, as opposed to…

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Advertising, Marketing, or Branding Agency?

Choosing an agency to help with your advertising, marketing, or branding needs can seem overwhelming. The agency you choose will play an important role in determining how your potential clients view your company. Which one do you need? If you imagine agencies in healthcare terms – marketing agencies are generalists (the basic needs), advertising agencies…