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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5 Reasons Successful Branding is Important

Branding clearly delivers your message. Branding emotionally connects your target audience with what you offer. Branding motivates your audience to create a connection. Branding reinforces your credibility. Branding creates loyalty. Bonus – Branding helps you stand out in a crowd.

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What is Brand Consistency and Why is it Important?

Brand consistency means always delivering messages aligned with the core brand values in the same tone, presenting the brand’s visual language in a consistent way, and repeating the same colors throughout the cohesive brand experience. Over time, these elements become ingrained in the minds of consumers, and they’re more likely to remember your brand. Brand…

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The Difference Between Graphic Art and Graphic Design

Graphic Art – the fine and applied art of representation, decoration, and writing or printing on flat surfaces together with the techniques and crafts associated with them. Essentially, a graphic artist may create art for the sake of art. They may want to convey a certain idea or story, or they may not. Graphic artists…

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How Dunkin’ Successfully Rebranded in 2019

The history of Dunkin’ began with a restaurant called “Open Kettle” in Massachusetts, in 1948. Founder William Rosenberg served donuts for five cents and premium cups of coffee for ten cents. Rosenberg renamed his restaurant “Dunkin’ Donuts” in 1950, and franchised his brand in 1955. Since 1950, the number of Dunkin’ restaurants has increased to…

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What Makes a Logo Successful?

A logo serves to represent your company through a visual image that can be easily understood and recognized. Logos generally involve symbols, stylized text, or both. A good logo should create memorable impressions on your target audience, and set your company apart from your competitors. So, what makes a logo successful? A successful logo will…

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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…

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6 Benefits of Choosing a Local Agency

A local agency will understand the local market. Remember those global branding fails? The large corporations launching those campaigns did not understand the market they were advertising to. When working with a local agency, you won’t have any time zone differences to worry about. Everyone is on the same page, the same schedule! A local…

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What is Branding?

Branding is all of the ways you establish an image of your company in your customers’ eyes and minds. It’s your “what”, your “how”, and your “why”. Your description of what you offer, the colors associated with your business, your visual identity, your website, your advertising, your collateral and your social media presence—these are all…