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Outsmarted in latest edition, can Pepsi afford to spend big money on IPL?

Arch rival Coca-Cola India seems to have out-smarted PepsiCo in the IPL, by merely buying 10-second advertising spots during the tournament.

twitter-logo Ajita Shashidhar        Last Updated: June 3, 2013  | 17:33 IST

Ajita Shashidhar
PepsiCo India is yet to take a formal stand on whether it will continue its five-year association with the tainted Indian Premier League (IPL) after paying a whopping Rs 396 crore for the title sponsorship.

The larger question, however, is: can Pepsi really afford to spend more than half its annual advertising money just on the IPL?

Arch rival Coca-Cola India seems to have out-smarted PepsiCo in the IPL, by merely buying 10-second advertising spots during the tournament and partnering with a few of the IPL teams as their official beverage partner.

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Pepsi may be the official drink of the IPL, but if you happened to watch a match at Wankhede Stadium*, the only beverage brand you would have seen was Coca-Cola because it is the official beverage partner of the Mumbai Indians.

Moreover, Coca-Cola cut the price of its 200 ml bottles to Rs 8 during the IPL so consumers got a bottle of Coke cheaper than Pepsi.

Latest market share figures show that Coca-Cola definitely has an edge. But those who think that Brand Coke has overtaken Brand Pepsi are mistaken.

Coca-Cola India's higher market share is largely because of the popularity of other brands such as Thums Up and Sprite. However, Brand Coca-Cola still has some catching up to do.

*An earlier version of this story had incorrectly mentioned that the Chepauk Stadium, too, carried only Coca-Cola branding. The error is regretted.

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