Pepsi vs Coke is the biggest battle in soft drinks, and Pepsi's just launched another salvo. Its 'Tastes OK' campaign in Australia is a twist on the existing 'Tastes Better' tagline, which has made some clever use of optical illusions in the past to find the Pepsi logo hiding in the packaging of brands the stock its rival.
This time, it aims to point out a design flaw of sorts in Coca-Cola's own logo and packaging: the phrases 'OK' hidden in plain sight in the Coke name. Why settle for 'OK' when you could choose Pepsi Max?, the campaign invites people to ask themselves.
The campaign covers OOH ads, print and social. Creative directors Simon Gibson and Nils Eberhardt from the creative agency Special said in a release: “Getting briefed to work on the ‘Tastes Better’ campaign is exciting and intimidating in equal measure. It’s such a bold and direct line and it’s led to great work in the past, so we all knew we needed to do something that lived up to it. Then, our competitor did it for us. We saw an image they put out into the world and noticed something we couldn’t unsee.”
Vandita Pandey, chief marketing officer Australia and New Zealand for snacks and beverages at PepsiCo, said, “We have long known that Pepsi Max tastes better than our main competitor and this latest campaign helps us reinforce our position as a challenger brand."
It's bold and amusing, but it's also a risky strategy. It gives a lot of exposure to the rival brand in that Coca-Cola actually appears more visibly than Pepsi in the ads. So firmly adopting the position of a challenge brand is also risky in itself. It puts Pepsi in danger of becoming Burger King, which seems to spend most of its marketing energy and budget on trolling McDonald's rather than on establishing its own identity.