ATLANTA — After throwing much shade in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, Pepsi has asked Coca-Cola to declare a 'Cola Truce' -- but it seems that they still cannot do so without a tongue-in-cheek crack at Atlanta's usual soft drink of choice.
Hometown Atlanta-favorite Coca-Cola is a major sponsor of the Atlanta Falcons and a primary vendor of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. On the other hand, soft drink rival Pepsico is a major Super Bowl sponsor and since 2013, the named sponsor the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Pepsi hit town in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl Week with plenty of billboards that threw jabs at Atlanta's iconic drink of choice: "Look who's in town for Super Bowl LIII," or "Hey Atlanta. Thanks for hosting. We'll bring the drinks."
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 posted a Tweet offering a truce.
"Hey @CocaCola thanks for being such gracious hosts for #SBLIII this week. We agree #TogetherIsBeautiful so we’d like to get our founders together for a celebratory cheers to declare a temporary #ColaTruce for the day. See you at @WorldofCocaCola soon!"
Coke replied via Twitter a short time later, "#TogetherIsBeautiful always. Welcome to ATL!"
The World of Coke told 11Alive that while they don't know Pepsi's plans, "as Atlanta’s hometown beverage company for more than 130 years, we’re thrilled to help our city welcome everyone to town for the Big Game, including our friends from Pepsi.”
A statue depicting Coca-Cola founder John Pemberton stands in front of the World of Coca-Cola in the Pemberton Place Plaza in downtown Atlanta. The figure holds a cup of Coca-Cola in a toasting pose. A Pepsi crew brought in a matching statue of Pepsi founder Caleb Bradham standing in a similar toasting pose and stood it opposite the Pemberton statue.
A bit later, Pepsi responded back, but it seems like they added a bit more shade to their response.
Pepsi added one more positive layer later in the afternoon, joining with the United Way of Atlanta to "do some good."
"For every RT or post that uses the hashtags #ColaTruce and #Share2Donate, we'll donate a meal to those in need in Atlanta through a partnership with @UnitedWayATL"
The NFL has a perimeter downtown where only NFL sponsors can be on display. the World of Coca-Cola is actually inside that perimeter, but it is still permitted to operate during Super Bowl Week.
During the Super Bowl itself, the self-serve fountain drinks inside the stadium will continue to sell Coca-Cola products. Pepsi products will be available at limited locations, such as eight branded kiosks 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.
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