Cola Wars Are Back!

Kim Conte

pepsi maxThe long-standing rivalry between Coke and Pepsi was the subject of a much-loved "Diner" commercial that aired during the Super Bowl in 1995. (Remember that one? Delivery drivers from each of the soft drink makers meet in a diner and, after sampling and comparing their respective beverages, find that they all prefer Pepsi.)

Now, Pepsi is remaking the famous cola wars ad, which will air on Monday night. The diner concept is the same. But this time around zero-calorie versions of each cola -- Pepsi MAX and Coke Zero -- will be pitted against each other. This is 2010 after all!

Truth be told, Coke Zero is clearly the preferred drink at least for now: It's five times the size of Pepsi MAX. (Though, this could be largely due to the fact that Pepsi's product has only been available in the U.S. since 2007; Coke has been available since 2005.)

But Pepsi is stoking the fires of the decades-old rivalry in an effort to draw attention to its zero-calorie product and tap into Coke's healthy shopper consumer base. For its part, Coke is ready for a rematch, while remaining good-natured about the new ad. As a Coca-Cola spokesman stated:

"Doesn't a fight require two sides? As far as we can tell, the two drivers in this ad may be the only remaining Pepsi MAX drinkers."

Them's fighting words! (Although this writer is in complete agreement.)

As this quote demonstrates, both companies see the return of the cola wars as a good thing -- no doubt because it draws attention to both brands. And consumers are happy as well, because really? Who doesn't love a little nostalgia?

Which drink do you think is the favorite in the cola wars: Pepsi Max or Coke Zero?

Image via Gene_Hunt/Flickr

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