The Battle of The Beverages

The three largest soda companies in the US – Coca Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group – have been battling for the hearts of consumers for decades. There is still a debate over who is better.  This summer Pepsi are hoping to edge themselves closer to that coveted top of the league, with the re-launch of Crystal Pepsi, the clear version of Pepsi which captured the world’s interest in the early ‘90s.  Will this risk pay off for the brand, or will it crash and burn like so many ‘limited time only’ products of the past?

We used our Adoreboard analysis to gain insight into which of these companies receive the most love online.



Perhaps surprisingly, Pepsi came out on top with the most positive mentions and high levels of admiration and ecstasy being expressed toward the brand.  Pepsi was likely boosted in popularity this week as people are getting excited for the US re-release of Crystal Pepsi.  Many in Ireland were also taking to Twitter to express their disbelief at the controversial #BrutallyRefreshing ad campaign for Sprite.  Many felt that some of the campaign’s slogans such as ‘You’re not popular, you’re easy’ were misogynistic, and they discussed their intention to boycott Coke in favour of Pepsi.  Mentions of Dr Pepper were very divisive, with some wondering how anyone could like it, and fans questioning the sanity of Dr Pepper haters.

Joy Index

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Assessing levels of joy or amusement which is expressed toward the brand

The topics which drove the most joy toward Pepsi related to Crystal Pepsi, and customers’ love for Pepsi products more generally.  People talked more infrequently online about drinking Pepsi, and enjoying Pepsi at Pizza Hut but taking advantage of these topics would provide Pepsi with an excellent opportunity to drive further ecstasy toward the brand.

Coke are struggling the most when it comes to the joy index.  People are negatively discussing the difficult search for specific flavours (like cherry and vanilla) in certain areas, and Mexican Coke with “real sugar” tasting better than the Coke that is more widely available.

Trust Index

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Measures level of trust which consumers have in a brand

Dr Pepper evokes the most public trust of the three brands that we analysed.  The most trust stems from people discussing drinking Dr Pepper and loving it more than other beverages, like Coke, Pepsi and Diet Coke.  Topics which people discussed with high trust which could be monopolised to to further these trusting feelings are people using Dr Pepper to make themselves feel better when they have a bad day, and the view that life is only complete when Dr Pepper is in it.

One important topic which drove the most distrust to Pepsi was their advertising, which clearing presents a large issue for the brand that should be addressed.

Interest Index

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Vigilance is associated with hype and anticipation surrounding a brand

Amazement focuses on surprising feelings and ‘wow’ factor

Vigilance toward pepsi is driven by the ongoing debate on whether Coke is better than Pepsi, or vice versa, the divisive question which most people seem to have a strong opinion on.  One topic which is included in Pepsi mentions associated with a high level of vigilance is Pepsi Max Cherry.

The feeling of drinking Coke, bottles of Coke and Mexican Coke are driving surprise and amazement to Coke.  If Coca Cola chose to tend toward surprising and amazing the audience, setting themselves apart from their competitors, they should focus marketing on these topics and areas.

Comfort Index

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Rage relates to feelings of discomfort which likely results in the consumer taking action

Terror is associated with feelings of insignificance and powerlessness to control their discomfort

As the centre of this spectrum is where brands should aim, Coke and Dr Pepper are greatly outperforming Pepsi.

In order to prevent Dr Pepper from descending further toward rage, they should address key issues raised on Twitter, including people feeling that Diet Dr Pepper/Dr Pepper Zero is not as nice as normal Dr Pepper, and people feeling that the brand are not good enough to stand up to Pepsi and Coke.

Pepsi Max and the Pepsi-Coke rivalry drive the most rage toward Pepsi, as many prefer Coke products to Pepsi products, and “full-fat” Pepsi products to their diet equivalent.


It is clear that the re-launch of Crystal Pepsi in Canada last month and in the USA this week is having an extremely positive impact on the brand, and the success of the brand on Twitter.  Bringing back this novelty classic is heightening feelings of nostalgia in the older audience, and capturing the interest of the younger generations who have yet to try the beverage.



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