MK 354 Spring 2010

February 20, 2010

It Just Tastes Better!

Filed under: blog #4 — Tags: , , , , — Zach Cole @ 1:04 pm

You like Pepsi. I prefer Coke. Why? The answer is simple: we think one tastes better than the other. As the two major players in the soft drink market, Pepsi and Coke realize that taste is of the utmost importance. If the product tastes bad, it simply will not sell (see Coca-Cola Blak). Therefore when marketing their products to the public, both Pepsi and Coke must position themselves as great tasting beverages first and foremost. Everything else is secondary to taste.

However, as consumers we have grown very wary of believing marketers’ claims, especially if we feel that they are not credible. What makes a Coca-Cola spokesman believable when he tells you that his brand of drinks tastes better than Pepsi’s? Nothing. He is supposed to be telling us that, because he wants to sell us his product. In other words, in order for these two soda giants to better market their drinks, they need to find credible ways to tell us that their drinks taste better.

It just so happened that Pepsi beat Coke to the punch. With its Pepsi Challenge campaign, Pepsi found a credible way to deliver on its core message of great taste by using actual consumers as its spokespeople. After all, actual consumers are much more trustworthy than company spokespeople because actual consumers don’t care which brand other consumers buy; they are not biased. The Pepsi Challenge involved having a consumer drink samples of the two different colas (Pepsi and Coke) out of unmarked cups, and deciding which sample they thought tasted better. Naturally Pepsi found that consumers preferred the taste of their own drink the majority of the time (or else there never would have been a campaign in the first place).

By letting the people at home know that ordinary consumers found Pepsi to be the better tasting cola, Pepsi made its claim credible. According to Chip and Dan Heath, having your customers test a claim is called a “testable credential,” (Heath, 157). Testable credentials are great at boosting credibility, and increased credibility leads to more effective – and sticky – marketing campaigns.

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