19.2.09

And that's not even mentioning Fanta.

I'm not sure what I find more amusing: the idea that Cott's Beverage company (fine purveyors of RC Cola) has their own brand of energy drink ("Throwdown"), or that it's been discounted to clear at my local Safeway.

It did get me thinking about the soft drink industry in general, though. Part of it ties back to a book I once read on subliminal advertising (either more prevalent or less subtle during the 70s). One of their arguments as to why companies would use such tactics was the simple cost of advertising. Let's use the following (completely fictitious) numbers, if you wouldn't mind:

It costs $20,000 to run an ad in a monthly magazine.
A can of cola costs 50¢ to produce, and sells for $1.

In that situation, in order for your advertisement to be profitable, it has to convince people to buy 40,000 cans of cola, and they have to be people who wouldn't have otherwise bought any.

Or is that the case?

Imagine, if you will, a month when both leading soft drink producers shut down their advertising departments completely. How much business would they lose? Some, to be sure, but likely a small amount compared to the millions they'd save on advertising. But now, imagine a month in which only one of those companies shut down their advertising. It would be a disaster.

And so, perhaps the ad wars are not a battle for profit, but a dance of survival. Oddly enough, in this scenario, the ads don't have to be particularly good, they just have to be there. Genuinely convincing material is just a bonus.

Perhaps, then, the cola war was actually a cold war. A continual stockpiling and sabre-rattling competition of brands.

Or, perhaps not. I'm writing after drinking three cans of expired third-rate energy drinks, after all, so perhaps we should just be grateful I'm just blathering about potential story ideas, and not talking about my convictions that Medicine Hat is ready for a lucha libre film festival.

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.