Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hickenlooper on Face the Nation: an inaccurate (and Whiggish) view of the cola wars?

Back in the year 2012, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, in the context of a Presidential debate at the University of Denver, stated

“I think the attack ads, the just beating each other to a pulp, that gets put aside and that’s good. You never see it in private industry. Coke doesn’t do attack ads against Pepsi because then Pepsi would attack Coke and then Coke would counter attack and then people were buy fewer soft drinks. You dminish the product category. What we’re doing is diminishing the product category of democracy,” said Hickenlooper. “People don’t watch the news, they don’t read the newspaper and they don’t vote. This is our great experiement, the world’s great experiment, democracy. We’ve got to make sure we don’t turn people off.”


Note also the 2014 post: John Hickenlooper remains silent as attack ads boost campaign

Fast forward to May 29, 2016, and Hickenlooper brings up the same Coke/Pepsi story on "Face the Nation."

One wonders if Hickenlooper was around for the "The Pepsi Challenge," the "New Coke" story and Roger Enrico's book: The Other Guy Blinked: How Pepsi Won the Cola Wars.

Or, the 1996 article in Fortune: How Coke is Kicking Pepsi's Can.

Or the "cheatin' heart" Pepsi commercial:

Whether attack ads are good or bad is one thing, but to say "private industry" never does attack ads is simply wrong. Attack ads
existed in the cola wars (and elsewhere in private industry) and there is no evidence of an inevitable progression and improvement.

**Just as a point on the power of advertising, from a post about the "Twentieth Century Limited" vs. the "Broadway Limited":

Why this difference?

It certainly is not due to superior equipment because the equipment is identically the same. It is not due to greater comfort, for if anything, it is more comfortable to travel on the Broadway because it is not crowded. You do not have to fight your way through a crowd to get into the diner, nor walk through an endless maze of sleepers to reach the observation car, only to find every seat taken. On the Broadway there is always plenty of room in the library car and it is seldom that you cannot get a seat on the observation platform.

Then why is it?

The answer is ADVERTISING.

The Century has been advertised from hill to hamlet the country over.

When the Century leaves the station in every seat there is a stamped, colored postcard of the “Finest Train in the World,” ready for you to mail to one of your friends, and you may be sure that nine-tenths of them are mailed. You can always think of some excuse to let some one know that you making the trip to New York on the Century.

The Pennsylvania Railroad crosses the AIIegheny Mountains. The New York Central travels along the valleys of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, but even such virtues as are attributed to the road-bed of the latter, because of the “sea-level route,” are largely imaginary and the result of advertising



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