Pepsi is pouring it on in Coke’s house — injecting some fizz into its biggest rivalry during the buildup to the ‘Big Game’.
While the visitors had called for a “cola truce” on social media with the NFL title game in the shadows of its competitor’s Atlanta-based headquarters, it seems to have been more of a Trojan Horse subterfuge designed to lure Coke into lowering its defenses.
Billboards all around Atlanta call for Pepsi to “paint the town blue” and announce “Pepsi in Atlanta — how refreshing.”
“I’d say Pepsi’s had a great heritage of being a challenger brand,” Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s vice president of marketing, said Thursday. “The Pepsi-Coke rivalry has been going on for years. As a marketer, it’s been a fun, friendly kind of a thing. As a challenger brand, it’s really embracing the role to show everybody we’re the official NFL sponsor. Do it in a fun way with a competitor that we respect.”
But while Pepsi has been intent on having fun at Coke’s expense, Coke will be tapping into its home-field advantage: Because it owns the “pouring rights” at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Coke products will be for sale at the fountains during the game between the Patriots and Rams. But the drinks will be served in NFL-themed cups.
That hasn’t deterred Pepsi. The company, based in Purchase, New York, wheeled a life-sized statue of its founder, Caleb Bradham, in broad daylight to toast a soda with none other than the statue of Coca-Cola founder John Pemberton. The meeting came just outside the World of Coke museum in downtown Atlanta.
And it didn’t last long.
Pepsi was asked to leave a few minutes after setting up on the Coke property that’s located just a couple of blocks from the stadium.