It is the kind of situation that will
make Pepsi itch for a reprisal of the fabled “Nothing
Official About It” campaign of 1996.
At the moment, it looks likely that
the beverages company will be left out in the cold as
action hots up at the soccer World Cup starting next
month in Germany — at least in India, Pakistan, Nepal,
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Coca-Cola India is an associate
sponsor of ESPN-Star, the broadcast rights holder for
this geographical spread. Coca-Cola Inc, on the other
hand, has the in-stadia rights for the cup.
The two tie-ups have been used by the
Atlanta-based Coke to put Pepsi and its constellation
of brand ambassadors, who include David Beckham,
Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, Roberto Carlos and Raul
Gonzales, on the advertising equivalent of the Bench.
Thus, Pepsi is likely to be kept out
of not only the television advertising spots, but also
For good measure, Coke has also tied
up with sports gear and apparel maker Adidas, the
official sponsor of the World Cup, to distribute
soccer memorabilia through promotions and contests.
This deal can plug a few more avenues for rivals to
stage a comeback.
Even though cricket is the
unchallenged number one sport in India, 75 million
Indians watched on television the last soccer World
Cup four years ago. ESPN-Star Sports Managing Director
RC Venkateish is confident of breaking viewership
records this time.
But Pepsi appears optimistic. “A
significant part of Pepsi’s communication and
activation arises out of our ownership of the cricket
platform. This is an exciting year for Indian cricket
and our marketing initiatives are aligned
accordingly,” said Vipul Prakash, Pepsi’s executive