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April 15, 2015
The Cola Wars Continue: Pepsi Takes NBA Sponsorship
 
We love competition, especially when it comes between two iconic brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

These two brands, going after the marketplace since the 1880s, have plenty of wins and losses in terms in market strategy to fill marketing classes with case studies. In the classes we teach, we show a documentary about how these two brands have stood the tests of time and of advertising.

They could add yet another exchange of blows to the record books.

Pepsi-Cola announced that it has signed a partnership deal with the NBA that will make the brand the official food and beverage sponsor. Coca-Cola was the sponsor before, and first inked the deal with the NBA in 1986. Pepsi will feature Mountain Dew as its main drink brand, replacing Coke's Sprite.

Along with the deal, China's main soda brand will also get some market share as the NBA continues penetrating international markets as part of its growth plan. What was interesting to read was that Mountain Dew has been the third-leading soda brand in the U.S.; only Coke and Pepsi beat it, oddly enough.

Before any wounds were licked, Coca-Cola announced that it did, however, sign a deal with Major League Soccer to be its beverage sponsor, a post that Pepsi had since 1996. 

So there's that.

As these brands continue to mature and position their products in front of new consumers, it will be interesting to watch these advertising powerhouses at work.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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