Big Game Ads – Coke vs. Pepsi

Coke and Pepsi have been locked in battle on many fronts for decades and the Big Game goes a long way in deciding which of the two has the upper hand. Both had success with memorable ads in 2008; Pepsi’s Justin Timberlake ad and Coke’s Parade Balloons (as a Patriots fan, the ads are the only part of that game I want to remember).

Each company had three commercials during this year’s Big Game, leading to a predictable spike in site traffic on the day of the game. Coke managed to keep that momentum going through to Monday, whereas Pepsi saw a steep drop.

But things were not all bad for Pepsi. Unlike Coke, which did not include any references to their online channels in the ads, Pepsi pushed their new site in two of their three commercials and the graph looks quite a bit different with it included. Though the site wasn’t started solely for the Big Game (it began with a campaign to voice your concerns in a video-letter to the President and got a boost from its Facebook page), the massive exposure from the game helped maintain its momentum and keep the daily Reach numbers high and trending upwards.

One of Coke’s ads featured people in public being viewed as animated characters, reminiscent of online avatars and gaming, yet they failed to build on that association by driving viewers online. Instead it seems that Pepsi seized the opportunity to further engage consumers with their new site at a time when integrated cross-channel marketing is more important than ever.

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