This IPL, Coca-Cola Takes on Pepsi from Outside the Venue
A part of the cola war this summer season is being waged outside stadiums holding Indian Premier League matches across the country where arch-rivals Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are aggressively selling their drinks to cricket fans.
As beverage sponsor of all IPL teams, PepsiCo has rights to serve its drinks in all stadiums. And while the Board of Control for Cricket in India has implemented watertight anti-ambush measures inside stadiums to protect its sponsors, outside it’s free for all. Besides selling its regular drinks outside IPL stadiums across the country, Coca-Cola is also sampling its new low-cost mobile vending machines, which dispense drinks in cups at .` 5, outside Ahmedabad and a few other stadiums.
“In keeping with our strategy of making more and more consumers sample our products, we leverage congregations and meetings. Cricket tournaments are a good option as are festivals, rural haats and bazaars,” a CocaCola spokesperson said.
PepsiCo, however, said it was prepared for Coca-Cola’s aggression outside the stadiums and countered it effec- tively. “The fact that we were able to not only anticipate our competitor’s moves but also counter them effectively, ensured that there was no ambush whatsoever,” a PepsiCo India spokesperson said. Company officials said promoters, face painters and tshirt and flag sellers in Pepsi t-shirts, and movable branded sign boards on routes leading up to stadium gates, parking and entry gates helped the firm thwart any attempts by competition to ambush the IPL inside or outside. Besides setting up kiosks, the two cola rivals have deployed salespersons selling drinks individually. Last year too, Coca-Cola had sampled 400-ml packs for just .` 10, while PepsiCo had distributed its new launch — Pepsi Atom — free outside stadiums. Though the number of people going to watch IPL matches in stadiums are minuscule, it’s still a captive set of consumers, particularly in the peak season for beverages.
PepsiCo, being the beverage sponsor, has rights to serve drinks in stadiums