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Pepsi Reinvent the Pepsi Challenge for Social Media

Is Pepsi Okay?


If you’ve been anywhere near a TV set or supermarket or shopping centre at any stage between now and 1975, chances are fairly good that you know what the Pepsi challenge is, but if you don’t allow me to break it down: you’re given two unmarked, identical cups, one of them with Pepsi in and the other with Coke, you try both and decide which one you prefer. Apparently the results tended to favour Pepsi and the campaign has been running in various guises ever since.

It was a successful initiative, at least successful enough to distract everyone from the fact that Pepsi has always been a poor cousin to Coke in terms of sales and exposure. Coke are, of course, Machiavellian masterminds when it comes to advertising, their ad campaigns have remained relevant, inventive and extremely effective, no drinks company has been able to compete with them.

That’s never stopped Pepsi from trying though, and now they’ve revamped the Pepsi challenge for the modern age, by incorporating social media. Pepsi have drafted a squad of celebrities, including Usher and Usain Bolt, to act as ambassadors for the brand, they will issue monthly challenges via social media. The challenges will take some basis from the celebrities that issue them (Usain Bolt and Serena Williams’ challenges will be athletically based, for instance) as well as keeping social media as a focal point.


Rather than being universal, the challenges will differ depending on what part of the world you’re in and some will even serve to raise awareness about socio-economic issues (and money for charity). Every time the #PepsiChallenge hashtag is used, for instance, $1 will be donated from Pepsi to the Liter of Light organization, who provide sustainable lighting to less economically developed countries.


Pepsi are being very tight-lipped about what the actual challenges will entail, but it seems fairly self-evident that rather than being based around competing for a prize or determining who makes the superior product, it will be about mass participation, something that has become more and more effective as a means of raising awareness in the social media age. 

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Pepsi Reinvent the Pepsi Challenge for Social Media Reviewed by Callum Davies on Thursday, March 12, 2015 Rating: 5
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