Coca-Cola and Pepsi advertising, who’s happier?

In keeping with the theme from yesterday’s post, let’s review another set of advertising campaigns that seem to be going in a similar direction. Here is a look at the latest instalment in the Cola Wars.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been rivalling over share-of-stomach for decades. The marketing battle for who is the supreme cola of choice is an ongoing and probably never-ending fight.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, see the Pepsi Taste Challenge or (dare I say it) New Coke for a little bit of history in this rivalry. However lately, the two cola-giants aren’t fighting over who has the best flavour, who has less sugar, or who has the least calories. In fact, this time around it’s about which brand is the happiest.

Both brands have launched a new advertising campaign this summer, focusing on positivity and optimism.

Coca-Cola – Open Happiness Campaign
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam

The Coca-Cola ad shows a thirsty man stumbling through his town, looking for something to quench his thirst on a scorching hot day. As we follow him on his little journey he starts seeing Coke bottles everywhere, in car grills, neck-ties and bicycles. He must be going crazy until finally, he finds some Coca-Cola and refreshingly quenches his thirst and all is back to normal in the universe.

Pepsi – Joy It Forward Campaign
Agency: BBDO Toronto / BBDO Montreal

The Pepsi spot uses bright colours and positive words like “it’s time for positivity” and “time to share a smile”, with the new Pepsi logo in the place of the ‘O’. It’s an upbeat ad that is intended to be joyful and invites us to spread the joy, or in other words, joy it forward.

I like both spots. The Coca-Cola spot is nicely executed, with a great attention to detail that could have you watch it over and over again and still find something new. The Pepsi spot took a little longer to grow on me but after watching it a few times it certainly elicits feelings of joy that you just can’t help but smile and bob your head to. At the end of the day, when it comes to cola preference, I’m sure whichever brand you grew up with is the one that you will continue to choose.

So there we have the latest instalment of the Cola Wars: Joy vs. Happiness in an ultimate battle for who can be more optimistic. Who do you think is going to win this round?


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8 Responses to Coca-Cola and Pepsi advertising, who’s happier?

  1. Doug Ralph says:

    Pepsi will always be my favorite for no reason at all. Sometimes to be different I will even pretend to enjoy an RC cola. But I do enjoy Coca Cola, and love to watch them battle it out with Pepsi for the title of the King of Pop! A position I hear is now up for grabs. (too soon?)

    When it comes to these two spots I am definitely proud to be on the Pepsi side of things. The message is simple, motivational, and makes more sense as a cola commercial. In my mind the Coke commercial would have been a better fit for something like Dasani (a sub brand of Coca Cola), something I would much more enjoy on a hot day.

    I get what Coke was trying to accomplish, but think they have done better in the past. For example this heart warmer:

    So who wins? Both of them! To be honest, any drink filled with that much sugar and caffeine won’t provide the same satisfaction or joy as say a good written spot or cleverly executed video, both of which you can find at

    That is all.

  2. danvertising says:

    Good point Doug. And I agree, the Coke concept would have worked nicely for Dasani. Although, I don’t think the shape of the Dasani bottle is as recognizable as the shape of the Coke bottle.

    The Coke Side of Life campaign was a good one. And that spot you linked to is a good example of it. As far as advertising goes, I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Pepsi commercials.

    Hope to see more of your comments on this site in the future.

  3. […] for the couch. Competitors’ attacking each other in their advertising isn’t anything new. Coke and Pepsi, Apple and PC, and Burger King and McDonald’s have been at each other, on and off, for what seems […]

  4. Mattd says:

    That’s the reason why Coke will always be on top. There’s something special and comforting about something that never changes. I give it more respect, like an old grandpa. For example, the Montreal Canadians logo. You can’t change it now because it has so many memories and great accomplishments associated to the team. It will always be my favorite logo of all time, plus look at all the logo from the first big six teams, all classic. I love coke, because they design different themes, like my favorite, the polar bear xmas cans but their logo is there to remind you that a cold coke will always quench your thirst.

    Pepsi, not so much.

    mmm coke.

  5. danvertising says:

    That is a great image, showing the consistency of the Coke logo while Pepsi was constantly changing.

    I agree… it’s like comparing an original-six hockey team logo to the New York Islanders, which is constantly changing.

    Just look at the classic Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Blackhawks or Red Wings logos… there is a nice feeling of nostalgia that comes with each one. Something that Coca-Cola definitely has as well.

  6. nitesh says:

    both industries ad are superb and what i think is that whether joy or happiness what impress me is that both showed the concept perfectly… no doubt…

    really since my childhood I’ve always love these two cola’s ad because they know how to market their product that’s “the spirit with joy and happiness”

  7. Dean says:

    if you ask me coke is do much better the taste the song and i find that every coca cola commerical put a smile on my face and pepsi makes me angry. after all pepsi copies coke in almost every way. Coca-Cola for life!!!!!!!!!!!
    trust me i am a huge coca cola fan this may be strange but i have my whole compouter desk full of coke things… but i think its cool and normal.

  8. Hay dude , Why dont u put facebook badge on your site? Because I want to follow your fan page. Thank you Regards Admin of

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