Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Political Sip Test: Coke vs Pepsi, Republicans vs Democrats

Back almost 20 years ago, Coke was losing market share to Pepsi. The famous sip test showed that when given a sip, people chose Pepsi over Coke. Coke decided to change its formula to win the sip test. To do this, they made themselves taste more and more like Pepsi. The result was that Coke continued to lose market share. If Coke is going to make itself taste like Pepsi, people decided they would rather have the original and not a Pepsi in a Coke can.
Coke Later learned that while a sip of Pepsi was more appealing, consumers preferred the overall drink experience of Coke. Coke released Coke classic, reverting to its original formula, and reasserted itself in the Cola wars. This is a great lesson for marketing, but how does it tie into this usually politically focused blog. Actually, it fits quite well. Coke is the Republican party. Pepsi represents the Democrat party. Democrats have cornered the market on beating Republicans on the sip test. All they have to do is promise everyone everything. Who wouldn’t want everything free. Meanwhile, the conservative Republican Party of old, while making gains on long term thinking, began to grow nervous with not winning the political sip test. Republicans from 1998 through the last election have tried to package themselves more and more like Democrats so that they could compete in the sip test. The voters, as with consumers, would rather have a Democrat party than a Republican party that tastes like a Democrat party.
Consumers and voters want to have choice. They want Coke and Pepsi, Conservative and Liberal. When Republicans throw the conservative part of their formula and substitute liberalism, that just isn’t giving the people the choice they really want. Republicans have a great opportunity. They can repackage themselves as Republicans, the conservative formula. It worked for Coke, it can work here too.


Kansas Bob said...

"They want Coke and Pepsi, Conservative and Liberal."

A bit too simplistic for me Scott.. I'll take IBC Root Beer any day :)

Conservatism was not popular when Barry Goldwater ran.. Reagan made it popular because he was.. well.. he was Reagan. I think that presidential politics has always been more about the man and their message rather than Coke vs Pepsi addictions.

Many folks don't care for Cola at all but will try it if cherry or vanilla is mixed in with it. Maybe what I am saying is that extremes candidates like Goldwater and Jesse Jackson are just not as appealing as the more centrist candidates.

Guess we will see in a few years.

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