Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Coke, Pepsi Go Head-to-Head in Super Bowl Ad Contests

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Coke, Pepsi Go Head-to-Head in Super Bowl Ad Contests

Article excerpt


By Kim Foltz NEW YORK - Viewers of the Super Bowl game on Jan. 27 will find another battle off the field.

Coke and Pepsi are going head-to-head for the first time, with multimillion-dollar contests that viewers can play by watching advertising just before or during the broadcast on ABC.

Pepsico Inc. is expected to announce Monday an interactive game tied to the Super Bowl. People can play by calling a toll-free number that will be shown in Diet Pepsi commercials, which feature the singer Ray Charles, just before the kickoff and during the game. The three first prizes are $1 million annuities.

Pepsi's move appears to be a response to Coca-Cola Co.'s Super Bowl promotion announced in December - an interactive crack-the-code game.

To play, viewers must decode game pieces obtained from Diet Coke containers by holding them up to their television screens during a special commercial shown at the beginning of halftime in the National Football League's championship game.

A series of humorous commercials, beginning Wednesday, features the actor Leslie Nielsen explaining how to play the Diet Coke game. The first prize is a $1 million annuity.

Although the Super Bowl, with its enormous audience, is considered the premier showcase for advertising, some advertising and marketing executives said Pepsi and Coke could be the big losers.

The similarity between the two contests cold make it hard for consumers to recall which company was offering which deal.

``They are bound to cancel each other out,'' said Jack Trout, president of Trout & Ries, a marketing consulting firm. …

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