Processing Magazine

Pepsi suing Coca-Cola over Powerade ads

April 15, 2009
PepsiCo Inc. sued rival Coca-Cola Co. over ads for a new version of Coca-Cola''s sports drink Powerade, saying the campaign makes false claims that could hurt its Gatorade brand, reported by the Associated Press. The Purchase, N.Y.-based company asked the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York to stop Coca-Cola''s campaign. PepsiCo said the ads for Powerade ion4 are false in saying it''s the "complete" sports drink, better than Gatorade because that drink is missing two electrolytes -- magnesium and calcium. It said there is no evidence the new Powerade is better than Gatorade and that the Coca-Cola-made drink has the extra electrolytes only in trace amounts anyway. Scott Williamson, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, said the company supports Powerade. PepsiCo acquired Gatorade in 2001, when it purchased Quaker Oats Co. PepsiCo with brands like Mountain Dew and Pepsi-Cola, is the second-biggest soft drink maker behind Coca-Cola. But in the sports drink category, Gatorade dominates with a 77.2 percent share of the category''s volume and was a big reason PepsiCo bought Quaker. Powerade is a distant No. 2 player, with a market share of 21.7 percent last year. The sports drink category was worth about $7.6 billion in retail sales in 2008. By comparison, the entire U.S. carbonated soft drinks market was worth than $72.7 billion in retail sales last year.