ATLANTA — After Pepsi's shady shenanigans, Atlanta's hometown cola company appears it is taking the high road in its advertising.
In the days leading up to Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, Coca-Cola rival soda company Pepsi - a Super Bowl sponsor for the halftime show - put up several sassy billboards announcing their presence in Atlanta.
"Pepsi in Atlanta, how refreshing" read one. Another said "Look who's in town for Super Bowl LIII."
Some locals got so incensed that one Reddit thread posted a photo of a Pepsi billboard that said, "Pepsi in Atlanta. How refreshing," on top of another iconic Atlanta institution, Waffle House. The Reddit headline said, "Ok, Pepsi. Stay away from Waffle House. It's not funny anymore."
On Wednesday, Pepsi took a conciliatory tone, calling for a "cola truce" with Coke for a good cause, noting that they would donate one meal for every tweet that used the #colatruce hashtag. But the challenge didn't come without more shade.
That's because a Pepsi crew appeared to sneak a matching statue of Pepsi founder Caleb Bradham standing in a similar toasting pose of Coke's founder John Pemberton's, tweeting, "Hey @CocaCola we swung by but it looks like you weren’t into having us over today…that doesn’t feel very #TogetherIsBeautiful. Too bad since it seems like our founders thought it was a good idea when we came by to see you this morning. 😉"
Coke on its part said they "were not aware" of what their competition's plans, instead saying they would "welcome everyone to town for the Big Game, including our friends from Pepsi.”
They appear to be keeping that promise of Southern Hospitality with the "Welcome to Our House" ads posted around town.
As for Super Bowl Sunday itself, the self-serve fountain drinks inside the stadium will continue to sell Coca-Cola products. Pepsi products will be available at limited locations within the stadium.
Pepsi products will also be available in all NFL League suites as well as all Pepsi-sponsored local NFL team suites. The remainder of the suites will feature Coca-Cola products. The cups that will be sold also will have generic Super Bowl branding without the Pepsi logo, according to Mike Egan, senior vice president and general counsel of the AMB Group, which owns the Falcons.
As a result, Coca-Cola will still get to have pouring rights at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, even as they play host to Pepsi during the big game.