Pepsi is eager to win over hamburger fans with a challenger campaign that plays off of mascots and packaging from the three biggest burger chains, which all serve Coca-Cola.
The move, which includes reimbursing diners for Pepsi purchases on Friday, is the latest piece of a broader “Better with Pepsi” effort. It shows Pepsi acknowledging that it isn’t sold at McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King, the top U.S. burger chains by sales.
“We need to address the elephant in the room,” says Todd Kaplan, VP of marketing, Pepsi. “None of them pour Pepsi.”
Nine of the top 10 burger chains in America serve Coke, which has a larger market share than Pepsi. The exception is Culver’s, which pours Pepsi. Even Billy Goat Tavern, the Chicago institution that inspired the 1978 “Saturday Night Live” skit about a restaurant that serves cheeseburgers and “no Coke, Pepsi!” actually serves Coke.
The campaign uses imagery resembling Ronald McDonald, Wendy and BK’s King, without showing their faces. It also zooms in on sections of packaging from all three chains, strategically folded by an origami expert, to showcase sections that highlight red, white and blue curves reminiscent of Pepsi’s globe logo.