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Cola wars are back, in low-cal

business Updated: Jul 20, 2010 22:09 IST

AP
Highlight Story

The cola wars are back. PepsiCo is set to premiere a revamped version of its "Diner" Super Bowl commercial, pitting its Pepsi MAX against Coca-Cola's Coke Zero — a brand five times its size.

Analysts say people love the spirited rivalry of the decades-old cola wars and the move will benefit both soda makers.

The premise of the new Pepsi MAX ad is the same from the 1995 original: delivery drivers from the rival soft drink makers form a short-lived friendship in a diner over music.

The first ad's song was The Youngblood's Get Together. This time around it's Why Can't We Be Friends by War. They sample each other's drinks and the Coca-Cola driver prefers the Pepsi product. And then the friendship comes to an abrupt — and funny — end. The first version compared the longtime No 2 Pepsi and Coca-Cola brands. This time around, the ads take on a very 21st century product _ zero-calorie versions of their full-calorie counterparts.

Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, has been wildly successful with its five-year-old Coke Zero brand, which taps into the healthy shopper mindset. Now PepsiCo wants to move into that market with Pepsi MAX, which has its roots in Europe but is relatively new to the U.S.

Pepsi MAX first launched in 1993 overseas and came to the US in 2007. The entire brand did $1.7 billion in sales in 68 countries last year. Coke Zero has been growing in the double digits for four years and is in 133 countries. The brand is worth more than $1 billion in sales.