The Genius Strategy of Coca Cola beating Pepsi : Crystal Wars

In 1992, Pepsi launched a sensational product that blew the minds of Americans: Crystal Pepsi. Crystal Pepsi was such a crazy product that within one year, it recorded 474$ million in sales and captured sales of 2.4%. This scared the hell out of Coca-Cola, but within nine months, something shocking happened, which caused the same Crystal Pepsi to become a massive failure.

So, What Happened?

It all started with a clear craze. So, any brand that launched something clear was meant to be cool from the 1980s to 2000. It was the marketing fat of that time. Somehow, people associate it with transparency and honesty, whereas if colored, it is meant to be perceived as artificial and with many preservatives. Because of this perspective, Pepsi and many companies came up with this apparent trend, such as beer companies starting to sell light beer with fewer calories; Proctor and Gamble changed their milky soap to clear one, and even Apple made its Imac translucent. This is how powerful the crystal craze was, and this was the period of recession that slowed down the soft drink market. Then, they launched Crystal Pepsi.

Crystal Pepsi was launched in 9 months only. Usually, a new Pepsi product launch takes time of 3 years. The product was established in December 1992. Like IPL, the USA has a national football league known as the Superbowl. The league started in 1993, and just like IPL ads have high rates, Super Bowl ad rates were too high. Pepsi didn't have this golden opportunity and launched the campaign immediately.

So, What What went wrong?

The first problem with Crystal Pepsi was its Clear Bottles. If you see bottles of 7up and Sprite, they are green in color because once the clear bottles come in contact with sunlight, the preservatives, acids, and sweeteners may react because of that; and because of the reaction, it starts leaving an aftertaste, which not suitable.

The second problem with Crystal Pepsi was the Incongruent drink. Congruence of people's expectation of the product looks versus what it is. The crystal Pepsi was meant to be natural, healthy, and organic, whereas it was anything but healthy. Crystal Pepsi has 130 Calories, whereas regular Pepsi has 150 calories; crystal Pepsi is caffeine-free but uses fructose corn syrup. Now, they thought that consumers would fall for looks and beliefs. But here, Coca-Cola took the benefit. Coca-Cola used a strategy known as the Kami Kazi Strategy.

So, What is Kami Kazi Strategy?

The Japanese used Kami Kazi's strategy in World War 2. They send their pilots to crash their bomb-filled aircraft into the enemy ships. It was a kind of Suicide Bomber. Coca-Cola used this strategy by launching a product that will purposely fail, and while failing, it will fail Crystal Pepsi, too.

Coca-Cola launched a product known as Tab Clear. It was marketed as a Diet Drink, whereas Crystal Pepsi was sold as a Regular Cola. This confused the consumers about what a clear cola is meant to be. Tab Clear cannibalized the market for Clear Pepsi. Now, consumers have two significant choices in the case of transparent cola markets. This split the customer into two, making it harder for Pepsi to survive. Also, Pepsi launched its product with the name Pepsi, whereas Coca-Cola very smartly launched the product Tab without the name Coca-Cola to save its brand image.

This is how Coca-Cola added to the confusion, and customers got sick of clear drinks and false wellness when this got combined with a bad aftertaste. Crystal Pepsi became a massive failure in the USA.

About the author,

    Brhamjot Kaur

A girl who loves to learn, read and write. Who lives in two worlds ; one is the fictional world and the other one is real world. Worked as an freelancer for content and slogan writing. An introvert in general , and extrovert with some. A girl who is fighting for her own fairytale.

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