Happy Opening Week, everybody! May your team start the first series of the 2017 Major League Baseball season off with a string of wins. May your team endure the grueling grind of the summer and achieve October greatness. May they not be mired in a never-ending rebuild while promoting a brand new ballpark that’s not even in the city where they play.
I’ve said before: don’t raise your kids to be Atlanta sports fans.
But as one of the aforementioned hopeless souls, I have to hang my hat on any triumph I can; and today, that triumph is MLB dropping Pepsi for Coca-Cola as its official soda sponsor.
Yes, this is what it’s come to.
If you’ve spent any time in Georgia, you’ll note the locals’ visceral aversion to anything Pepsi, the knockoff, carbonated-syrup-sugar-water Coke substitute masquerading as viable competition. This marauding brand has dominated the major sports sponsorship market, serving as the official soda for all four major leagues since 2015—and Major League Baseball since 1997.
Coca-Cola’s victory is a victory for all of us endowed with refined palates; those that can differentiate between the sweet, crisp, caramel-tinged goodness of an ice cold Coke, and the equivalent of a sugar-laden silent movie playing on our taste buds that is Pepsi.
Deep-seated vitriol aside, it is amusing watching major conglomerates trade blows for marketing superiority. Whether it’s Apple and Samsung taking constant potshots at one another over commercials or Wendy’s turning Twitter troll toward McDonald’s, the gamesmanship and ingenuity that a brand undertakes when claiming its turf always makes it interesting for consumers. It demonstrates that whether you’re a garage-bound start-up or an established heavyweight, creating and constantly defending your niche with creative marketing and advertising is imperative. Marketing is an evolutionary process, and stagnancy and comfort are the coffin nails in companies and corporations.
So Coke retakes its rightful place as the official soda of America’s Pastime, and PepsiCo takes an advertising L. When your team is headed toward another disastrous season, these are the wins you have to cling to.