The cola wars have gone sugar-free. Pepsi and Coke are locked in a major battle over their zero sugar varieties that is playing out on social media and on TV, where both brands are planning major ad pushes during expensive NFL programming this fall.
Pepsi today tried to steal some thunder from Coke Zero Sugar’s newly reformulated version by promising to buy a drink for every Coke Zero Sugar drinker looking to make the switch to Pepsi. To apply, consumers must request a reimbursement for their Pepsi Zero Sugar purchase by texting a special number and submitting a receipt. The brand is also asking soda drinkers to share a picture of themselves on social media drinking Pepsi Zero Sugar using “MyCokeBreakup.”
Pepsi also confirmed that the majority of its NFL advertising will push Pepsi Zero Sugar via more than 12 new ads. PepsiCo is an official NFL sponsor and the way it spends on the league signals where it is placing its bets.
Coca-Cola Co. has already said it will run its new Coke Zero Sugar campaign during NFL games. Ads that started airing earlier this month ask whether Coke Zero Sugar is “the best Coke ever?” via quirky ads that include one spot where a puppet and its master exchange their opinions. The campaign, which includes an extensive sampling effort, backs the drink’s new packaging and formulation that the company says optimizes its flavor blend.