Coke, Pepsi start World Cup battle

4 April 2014
ATLANTA/NEW YORK: Soft drinks giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi have launched their campaigns for this summer's football World Cup in Brazil, with each looking to leverage their respective strengths as sponsors of the competition or of players.

Coca Cola said its marketing programme, entitled "The World's Cup", would be the largest in the company's history and would focus on the role of football in the community.

"Coca-Cola wants to celebrate real people playing football, demonstrating how the game is a force for a more inclusive and connected world," said Joseph Tripodi, the company's Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer.

This approach includes a documentary film highlighting the stories of four ordinary teams from different parts of the world which have each overcome life's challenges through their love of the game.

Pepsi's take is very different. Although not a tournament sponsor, the brand has relationships with several high-profile footballers, including Lionel Messi and Robin van Persie, both of whom feature in a new TV ad, Now Is What You Make It, set in Rio de Janeiro.

"Celebrity is always going to be an element of this brand," said Kristin Patrick, global CMO at Pepsi. "It's definitely part of our DNA, and we're not walking away from that at all."

But Patrick explained to Advertising Age that "making things relatable for this new generation of consumers is really important", so the brand had recruited Icelandic rapper Stony, who has a significant social media following, to help unite the football personalities.

Patrick also drew attention to the brand's different approach to the campaign, likening it to the promotion of a film.

"There are a series of launches and announcements, with something happening almost every month," she said. "It's very much about this deep pool of content and immersing the brand very deeply in culture and football."

Coca-Cola is also planning to use the tournament to hone its real-time approach. "The biggest difference between previous tournaments is our focus on real-time marketing rather than pre-planned executions," Paul Dwan, head of assets and experiential at Coke, said earlier this week.

Data sourced from Advertising Age, Wall Street Journal, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff
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