Tweetdown: Coke Vs. Pepsi — Coke is It!

Coke vs. Pepsi is one of the longest running, most hard fought battles in the marketplace. So I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of engagement the two brands have on Twitter.  Looking at a week’s worth of tweets, we can see the number of times each brand is referenced:

Coke vs. Pepsi in popularity on Twitter

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And we can see that Coca Cola gets about 75% more references than Pepsi does.  An analysis of the gender of the senders shows that both brands are about evenly split between males and females (and that about 50% of the people tweeting are of unknown gender).

When you look at the sentiment expressed in the tweets, you can see that @cocacola and @pepsi tweeters are generally happy folks:

Sentiment of tweets, coke vs. pepsi

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it is very unusual to see a large selection of tweets have virtually no tweets with a negative sentiment!

Finally, there’s a health balance between retweets and new tweets mentioning both brands:

Tweets vs. Retweets for Coke and Pepsi

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The top 5 retweets for coke are:

total Tweet Text
412 RT @CocaCola: A smile is the best gift you can give (an ice cold Coca-Cola is a close second!)
236 RT @CocaCola: Sometimes a high five is so good you need to high five again to celebrate it!
51 RT @Foodimentary: On this day in 1886 @CocaCola is said to have been invented by @DocPenberton
32 RT @CocaCola: To do’s this weekend: skip, run, & enjoy Spring!
27 RT @CocaCola: Discovering a good tune is loved by all folk.  It’s fun Making_ _ _ _ _With_ _ _

The top 5 retweets for Pepsi are:

total Tweet Text
190 RT @pepsi: Happy Birthday Lady Gaga! We <3 you, mother monster! 26 looks good on you!! (cc: @ladygaga)
98 RT @pepsi: “I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in and going after your dreams.” – Madonna
71 RT @pepsi: When life gives you lemons, ask for a gift receipt and get a Pepsi.
69 RT @pepsi: Let’s make memories tonight. #Cheers
60 RT @pepsi: Happy birthday to Elton John AND Aretha Franklin! #PepsiIcons #Legendary

I think it’s interesting that Coke’s retweets are coke centric, while Pepsi’s tend to mention celebrities.  Clearly a reflection of their marketing efforts.  It’s also interesting that, for Pepsi, virtually the only thing being retweeted are @Pepsi tweets (16 out of the top 20 retweets are from @Pepsi), while for Coke there is a broader mixture of sources (8 out of the top 20).  That generally indicates a more vibrant community for Coke.

Still, when I look at the activity for both brands, there is nonetheless a relatively low level of engagement with the overall Twitter community.  When you look at the engagement that TV personalities get, for example, it is way beyond what these two venerable brands get.

This shows an area which each can gain much more value from Twitter; the value of getting higher levels of engagement is immense.  If you read Robert B. Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion“, he talks about how taking small steps to demonstrate commitment can lead people to a deeper commitment.  In the case of Twitter, getting more people to tweet on Coke or Pepsi  will result in not only those people forming a deeper attachment to the brands, but serve as “social proof” for others as well.  It’s all well and good for the brands to tweet out, but it is those tweets back that drive real engagement.


All tweets mentioning @cocacola or @pepsi for a 1 week period ending roughly at 1pm on 3/31/2012 were collected and analyzed. Gender was assigned using a mechanical process that looks at first names and terms used in the description.  Sentiment was scored mechanically by looking at the choice of words and phrases in the tweets. Note that it’s very hard to gauge the sentiment of tweets, and so the large neutral ratings for each brand should only be interpreted as the inherent weakness in mechanical sentiment scoring.