In 1975, Pepsi unleashed “the Pepsi Challenge,” a blind taste test where subjects threw back an ounce of each beverage and reported back on their favorite. Their favorite was Pepsi.
You already know what happened next: Coca-Cola developed a more Pepsi-like product called “New Coke.” America rejected New Coke. Coke came back with “Coca-Cola Classic.” America celebrated the restoration of the country’s carbonated identity, and Coca-Cola’s disastrous decision ended up entrenching its original product.
Behind all this was a problem with the Pepsi Challenge. People liked Pepsi more in small increments. They liked Coca-Cola more when they had to drink a can of the stuff. And this, I think, is going to prove a problem for Chris Christie.
What I love about metaphors invoking great lessons about the human condition the advertising industry learned 35 years ago is not so much the way they underscore how the world’s purest form of democracy is actually the free-market concept of “consumer choice” because that isn’t done nearly enough, or the way they tend to remind me of something profound Malcolm Gladwell wrote once, or how they distill the challenges of all humankind into a something as easily comprehended as carbonated sugar water, or the way they subtly remind me how refreshing an ice-cold Coke classic in a can not a bottle would feel right now on my burning throat and also, held against my forehead…
Um, here anyway, is something else you might read that applies junk food marketing lessons to the political career of Chris Christie, see which you find to be the “Coke” of online political analysis, or something.