#BetterwithPepsi campaign challenges Coca Cola over burgers

Pepsi challenged Coca Cola on National Hamburger Day (28 May 2021) with a new campaign ‘Better with Pepsi’.

Pepsi and Coke vending machines side-by-side

Pepsi has launched a marketing campaign insisting that burgers taste best with Pepsi, although the world’s top three burger chains exclusively stock Coca Cola. 

On the lead up to National Hamburger Day (May 28) during the Memorial Day weekend, Pepsi used digital video spots and photos showing the three burger brands’ mascots holding Pepsi cans. Out-of-home adverts also revealed hidden Pepsi logos in the burger chains’ iconography.

To support their statement, Pepsi commissioned taste-tests and surveys. A third-party blind taste-test suggested that around 60% of participants preferred a McDonald’s Big Mac, a Burger King Whopper or a Wendy’s Dave’s Single with Pepsi instead of Coke. Similarly, a panel of taste experts concluded that Pepsi brought out the flavours of these three burgers more than Coke did.

Pepsi’s marketing team engaged the public through the hashtag #BetterwithPepsi, encouraging consumers to try the burger and soft drink combination for themselves. On National Hamburger Day, Pepsi offered to reimburse those who used the hashtag to share their meal online.

Todd Kaplan, VP of marketing at PepsiCo, said: “Pepsi has a great heritage as a challenger brand.”

Although the hashtag does confront burger chains exclusive deals with Coke, the campaign succeeded for its playful rivalry. “We just thought it was a fun, very Pepsi way to get after it,” Kaplan said.

Following the disruption of the pandemic, Kaplan added that he enjoyed the humour of the campaign. He said, “I think with the tonality of brands … it’s okay right now for brands to be a little lighter and a little bit more focused within their categories.”

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