This past Saturday, I made the trek from Athens to Atlanta to attend the UGA Alumni Association’s annual Bulldog 100 event. As I made my way into downtown Atlanta, I quickly noticed the numerous billboards and advertisements for Pepsi on every street corner and city block. There were ads on the sides of buildings, banners outside hotels, and even a poster on the bus stop, right outside of the World of Coke.
Being a native Georgian, Coca-Cola was a staple in my childhood home. When we’d go to a restaurant, the wait staff would offer us sweet tea, water, or Coke and if a waiter or waitress ever asked the question “Is Pepsi okay?”, I’d ask for water instead. It’s not just a preference here, it’s a way of life. I even stopped eating breakfast at Bojangles a couple of years ago because their franchises only offer Pepsi products.
After further research into Pepsi and their ads in downtown Atlanta, I found out that only official Super Bowl sponsors are allowed to advertise in the area around the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. While Coke usually has licensing rights within the stadium, all of their products have been banned during Super Bowl LIII. All soda products served during the Super Bowl will come exclusively from PepsiCo. Inc.
While Pepsi’s temporary presence in Atlanta looks like a threat from the outside looking in, Coca-Cola’s brand loyalty is as strong as ever in the state of Georgia. Pepsi may benefit from their day-of sales within Mercedes Benz Stadium however, nearly all of the downtown restaurants exclusively serve Coca-Cola products and those 71,000 game patrons will have to eat somewhere during their stay in Atlanta.