Coke against Pepsi in a Social media race

It seems like the big soft drink brands aren’t only fighting a battle in sales, but also in the social media sphere… and they are doing it with a different approach.

Vitamin Water (Coca-Cola) let’s you decide

Vitamin Connect
The first brand to kick off the hostilities was Vitamin Water (part of Coca-Cola). They used the social media sphere, or better Facebook, create a new drink. The competition was 3-fold. Competitors had to:

  • Define new flavors: users could generate buzz around their favorite flavor (from a list of 10 flavors developed by Vitamin Water)
  • Design the packaging: after the selection of the flavor, the users could create their own packaging through a Facebook app and the final winners were selected by a panel of experts
  • Invent a name: while creating the packaging, the users could also come up with a name The winner, a certain Sarah from Illinois who won $5,000, came up with a very appropriate name “Connect”

The whole competition was supported by some celebs that had a video on the facebook page (generated over 1 million fans)

Here is a recap and the ad they are using to promote the drink:

An interesting feature on the facebook page is that you can download a coupon to get a free drink (only in the US).

50 Soundlab
After this successful campaign they teamed up with rapper 50 Cent through an Iphone app. The app came out on the same day as 50 cent’s new album and allows the users to remix and create their own version of the song. The app was hugely popular and was quickly the nr. 1 downloaded app after a few days.

Apart from the fact that the fans are able to remix the song and upload it via Facebook, email or on the online interactive music companion site at, 50 Cent will select his personal favorite and will invite that person to demonstrate his skills and travel with a friend to meet the artist in New York City.

Something to highlight is that this app not only has over 250 000 downloads in the first 2 weeks, but it also generated 64 000 downloads of the song through the app store.

This presentation contains some additional figures but also shows other Social Media activities by Coca-Cola

Pepsi buys a social responsibility for 20 million $

Pepsi lately ignored the Super Bowl for the first time in 23 years and used the $$$ to invest in a new social media project worth 20 million $ (cost of their presence on the Super Bowl). Well the whole operation is worth 20 million but the social media investment is just a small part of the whole operation. The idea of the Pepsi Refresh Project is to give 1.3 million/month to charity organizations that are promoted on their site by users. To do so, they created a site that allows users to upload ideas/projects and the audience will vote for the winning campaign. They also have a presence on facebook but unfortunately the mechanic on the facebook fan page is quite complex, isn’t really user friendly and doesn’t contain all information. This is probably why they only have 550K fans!


To give some more visibility and popularity to the whole thing, they also organize a Celeb contest, where celebrities can submit their own project. The first winner was Ms Kustcher, also known as Demi Moore, who will save 10 children with 250 000$.

I’m not really convinced by the whole operation because of the following reasons:

  • They are really (arrogantly) trying to buy themselves a social responsibility without a reason, by throwing a lot of money at it.
  • By bringing everybody back to their site, they don’t really understand the full power of social media. But this is not really new given their past #FAIL in Social Media (cf. AMP Up Before You Score). They are mainly using Facebook to shout out their message very loudly and the audience isn’t really convinced (only 550K fans compared to over a million).

I prefer Pepsi in their regular role as advertiser like in the below ad:



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