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Pepsi challenges the classic rum and Coke recipe

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Pepsi challenges the classic rum and Coke recipe

Rum and coke

Rum and Coke might dominate cocktail menus around the world, but Pepsi wants consumers to consider Pepsi as the perfect partner for the popular drink.

If you thought there was a special day or month for everything, you’re not wrong. August is Rum Month and companies are pulling out all stops to celebrate. Soft drink giant Pepsi has joined the celebration and opened up a debate as old as the drink itself: Coke or Pepsi?

Pepsi is vying to be recognised as the better tasting cola when pairing with rum. In a new campaign #BetterwithPepsi, the campaign has been designed to make people rethink rum and Coke.

Along with a social media campaign, Pepsi’s creative includes finding a secret Pepsi logo in renowned rum company Captain Morgan’s own bottle. With a small circle, Pepsi shows that perhaps Captain Morgan was always hinting that it should’ve been the beverage of choice with the spiced rum. 

Pepsi pulls up the numbers to prove it’s a worthy battle for rum and Coke 

Pepsi also has the numbers to support that the recipe should now become ‘rum and Pepsi’. In a recent consumer preference survey, 56 percent of participants responded that they enjoyed mixing Pepsi with their spiced rum rather than Coke.

The research went even deeper, with flavour experts coming into the battle.

“Rum tends to evoke warm, sweet flavours reminiscent of caramel and vanilla, a result of the oak barrel ageing progress,” explains PepsiCo’s corporate executive research chef for global beverages Chef Kyle Shadix.

“The crisp, sweet and citrusy notes in Pepsi bring perfect balance to the warm spice notes of rum, like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, creating a smooth, well-rounded taste profile for a perfect summer cocktail!” 

Perhaps this should all come down to the most reputable decider of all: a blind taste test.


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Liv Croagh

Liv Croagh was the Managing Editor of Marketing Mag from September 2021 to September 2023.

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