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1975: Cola wars heat up with launch of Pepsi Challenge

Pepsi challenge

To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.

Today we feature the Pepsi Challenge as our marketing moment, a campaign that the soda giant rolled out in 1975 where it asked people to blind taste test both Coke and Pepsi. Of course, the brand claimed that the majority of consumers prefer Pepsi.

At the time, Pepsi was gaining market share over Coke. By 1983, Pepsi was outselling Coke in supermarkets, according to Slate – but Coke was able to preserve its lead through its vending machines and fast-food partnerships.

Last year, Pepsi brought back its iconic challenge 40 years later with a social media slant. For the campaign, Pepsi “signed a crowed of celebrities, including Usher, Serena Williams and Usain Bolt, to recruit consumers to participate in a series of challenges meant for the social media generation,” according to the New York Times.

See the full 120 Marketing Moments in the dedicated online section and find out how to purchase the exclusive book.

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