Pepsi's high voltage campaign during IPL-6 has been the subject of much debate. It has even been linked to the resignation of Manu Anand, the Chairman of Pepsi India in June, 2013. To really understand the dynamics of Pepsi and its arch rival Coca-Cola, I did a study at Drizzlin Media to understand the performance of both these brands in the first half of 2013 (Findings below).
The results have not been very surprising. Pepsi overall had a higher share of voice (52%) as compared to Coca-Cola. But, much of it was due to its campaign during the sixth season of Indian Premier League. If you look at the conversation volume trends in the presentation (slide 6), you'll find that apart from the IPL 2013 period, Coca-Cola had a higher share of voice on Social Media.
From the perspective of sentiment, Blogs and Forums showed a higher percentage of positive sentiment for Pepsi overall (including IPL 6 season). News media had a greater percentage of positive sentiment for Coca-Cola. More importantly the sentiment on Twitter was largely neutral.
If you look at Pepsi's social media campaign, which was heavily aligned with Twitter, did do its job of engagement. Pepsi overall during IPL had approximately 65% share of voice on Twitter as compared to the share of voice of 53%. After the campaign got over, Coca-Cola regained its share of voice on social media (slide 6). This can be attributed to Coca-Cola being a stronger brand on social media or fatigue with brand Pepsi due to excessive promotions during IPL.
Looking at their respective performances, I think it is important for brands to look at more sustainable social media strategies while allocating their digital budgets. A solution could be the formation of communities or collaboration with cultural epicenters. A successful demonstration has been Coke Studio or the association of Mountain Dew and Red Bull with adventure sports. Such associations give prominence to brands and help them become a part of an ongoing cultural dialogue. This in turn reflects positively on brand associations in the minds of consumers.
The views expressed are personal.