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Summer of Pop: Pepsi vs. Coke’s Musical Meltdown (2021)

Ah, the Summer of Pop – a season where soda-soaked beats and sun-kissed tunes battle for our ears. In 2021, Pepsi and Coke turned up the volume on their rivalry with competing music campaigns, each vying for the title of Summer Soundtrack Maestro. Let’s dive into their strategies, executions, and see who ultimately ruled the airwaves:

Pepsi’s “Summer of Pop”:


  • Hitmakers on Board: Pepsi recruited rising stars like Megan Thee Stallion, Jack Harlow, and Lil Nas X, tapping into their current musical dominance.
  • Exclusive Content Drops: Exclusive summer anthems from each artist, coupled with music videos featuring Pepsi branding, kept the campaign fresh and engaging.
  • Limited-Edition Swag: Pepsi released limited-edition summer-themed cans featuring the artists, incentivizing fans to collect and flaunt their musical allegiance.


  • Social Media Blitz: Extensive social media campaigns, featuring artist collaborations, challenges, and influencer partnerships, built hype and community around the music.
  • Live Events and Concerts: Pepsi sponsored summer festivals and events, connecting the campaign with real-world experiences and giving fans a chance to see the artists live.
  • Digital Engagement: Interactive games and AR experiences on the Pepsi website and app further immersed fans in the summery sounds.

Coke’s “Coke Studio”:


  • Global Collaboration: Coke focused on international partnerships, bringing together artists from different countries and genres for unique musical mashups.
  • Local Flavors: The campaign celebrated local music scenes, creating Coke Studio iterations in various countries, catering to regional tastes and artists.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Access: Coke Studio offered exclusive content like studio sessions and interviews, giving fans a peek into the creative process and fostering a sense of intimacy.


  • Live Studio Sessions: Online and offline studio sessions, broadcasted through social media and television, showcased the creative collaborations and intercultural exchange.
  • Music Video Releases: Professionally produced music videos featuring the collaborations were released, each with a distinct Coke Studio aesthetic.
  • Community Focus: Coke partnered with local NGOs and music venues to promote local artists and support the music scene in different regions.

Who Won the Summer of Pop?:

Determining a clear victor is tricky. Both campaigns had their strengths:

  • Pepsi: Won on star power, catchy anthems, and social media buzz.
  • Coke: Impressed with its global reach, diverse collaborations, and focus on local communities.

However, looking at metrics like music video views, social media engagement, and brand mentions, Pepsi seems to have edged out Coke, particularly in the US market. Their exclusive tracks and high-profile artist partnerships generated significant buzz and resonated well with younger audiences.

The Takeaway:

The Summer of Pop campaign proves that music is a powerful tool for connecting with consumers and building brand loyalty. Both Pepsi and Coke successfully leveraged music to enhance their summer image and engage their target demographics. Ultimately, the true winner is the music itself, with summery tunes and unique collaborations enriching the soundtrack of our lives.

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