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>> the Coca-Cola commercial you see on TV probably doesn't make a single person get up out of his chair, go grab his car keys, and drive to the store and buy a Coke.

>> Yet, over time, get exposed to enough of those ads, and when it's time to buy, your hand instinctively goes for the one your brain is bombarded with ads for all day.

I don't really think that has anything to do with it. At work we having both Coke and Pepsi vending machines. Most people prefer the taste of one or the other, to the point where if a place only serves Coke and they prefer Pepsi, they won't order it. Not unlike beer in America (Bud Light vs Miller Lite, etc)

Soft drink choices come down to availability most of the time. Chances are if you are at an event such as a sports game or concert, they've already made the choice for you. Same goes for a restaurant, McDonald's has Coke and Taco Bell has Pepsi.

> I don't really think [brand advertising] has anything to do with it. [...] Soft drink choices come down to availability most of the time.

Coca Coca spends about $3 billion a year on advertising. [1] I couldn't find a breakdown for how much is brand-building versus other goals, but I think we can agree it's a lot.

That suggests two hypotheses: A) People in charge of a $3 billion budget for an incredibly profitable and long-lived company know what they're doing, or B) An anonymous non-expert on the Internet has correctly realized that advertisers are just fooling themselves, and he (and everybody else) is above being manipulated by brand advertising.

No offense, but I'm going with A.

[1] http://www.ajc.com/news/business/coca-cola-spent-more-than-2...

I'm going to go with B. Just because "everyone is doing it" doesn't mean they know what they're doing. Coke spends a ton of money on advertising because they want more sales and common wisdom says the way to get more sales is to spend a ton of money on advertising. It might work, it might not, but it isn't a simple 1 to 1 thing and it works differently on different people.

On a personal note, I grew up drinking Coke (because my dad preferred it), and I generally prefer the taste of Coke most likely because it's what I grew up drinking. I've seen Coke ads, and I've seen Pepsi ads, and neither one makes me want to drink one or the other or go buy one or the other. About the only thing it might do is influence me to go get a Coke if I was already feeling a bit thirsty although even if it was a Pepsi ad it would probably still make me want to get a Coke. In this case it would be a win for Soda vs. some other kind of drink like say a Starbucks coffee, not specifically Coke vs. Pepsi.

There was a really great discussion on Reddit (of all places) about the purposes and results of advertising. One of the things someone brought up was that a lot of times, ads are there to reinforce your existing preferences and purchasing decisions, and not to influence your making of them.

Post: http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/14y695/el...

See the first reply to the first post:

> Holy fuck. You're right. I bought a car recently, and while the TV spots had nothing to do with my decision, now when I see them, I sing along with the song and cheer at the TV and shit.

It turns people who bought your product in to people who are fans of your product, which makes them more likely to become repeat purchasers (and less likely to seriously consider other brands when it's time to purchase).

Completely off topic, but reading this ^^ has made me go and grab a Coke from the office fridge. Can't say I wasn't thirsty but can say seeing the word Coke several times above did have an effect.

Related to A - there's an old quote from John Wanamaker, father of advertising: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." It may not be clear to anyone (even Coke themselves) whether facebook advertising, or any other channel, is effective; they just know their total efforts are working very well.

I'm not so sure, at least on the beer front. I grew up in St. Louis, home of Budweiser. Everything in the city is named after one of the members or former members of the city, and just about every event in the city is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch (owner of Budweiser). I have since left the city, but if I'm looking for cheap, crappy beer that's available at any bar, I reach for a Bud-something-or-other.

Sorry, I feel compelled by the Holy Spirit of drinkability:

This is the famous Budweiser beer. We know of no brand produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age. Our exclusive Beechwood Aging produces a taste, a smoothness, and a drinkability you will find in no other beer at any price. Brewed by our original all natural process using the choicest Hops, Rice and Best Barley Malt.

What? Is this a plug for Budweiser? They are a terrible beer that is getting more terrible.


It's the message printed on the label on every bottle.

Read it carefully. The beer achieves the self-described rating of... drinkable. That's not very high marks!

Haha I'm sorry! I didn't know that, that's why I said "what?" I don't read the bottle because I am a huge beer snob who doesn't ever touch a Budweiser.

But I'm just one of those beer snobs who really likes drinking a good brew, not one that talks about "camel overtones" or other stuff or whatever that means. Reading beer reviews makes me angry.

I pledged a fraternity and one of the brothers made us all learn the slogan from the Budweiser bottle, so now whenever anyone mentions Budweiser I think of it, and it is really funny. I'm honestly not sure if I've ever drank Budweiser since college, but its outstanding drinkability rating, I will not forget!

You may have a point, growing up in the Philadelphia area, if I want a crappy beer I instinctively go for Yuengling.

> Not unlike beer in America (Bud Light vs Miller Lite, etc)

Please don't insult American beer by reducing it down to the very bottom of the barrel.

If you think that the way you experience the taste of what you eat and drink is not influenced by advertising, think again.

I realize there are brand images and advertising is part of that, and I'm definitely not saying they should reduce the advertisement budget to zero. I'm just saying most people like either Coke or Pepsi, and other than when you're a grocery store, the choice has already been made for you. Hell, it's rare to see a Coke vending machine next to a Pepsi one in most places.

If that is true, why would these companies spend so much on advertising?

I don't think the person you replied to is 100% on the money, but assuming he is, the companies would still need to advertise so that the venue or the restaurant purchased that product.

And the venue / restaurant is going to choose what they think people like, so smart brands would still advertise to the end consumer.

If you are advertising to decision makers in a restaurant, there are probably much more effective ways of reaching them than mass TV ads.

Yes and no. I imagine (yes, that means I made it up) that with a big enough brand, venues can piggyback on your life-style mass marketing. Both in terms you brainwashing their customers to ask for it, and in the more subtle way that carrying your brand will allow the venue to associate itself with your image (eg. Bollinger, Carlsberg etc).

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