We are in for interesting times in the Nigerian soft drinks market. Seven-Up Bottling Company, the bottlers of the famed Pepsi-Cola brand in Nigeria has just launched a 60cl bottle for Pepsi and other brands in its stable, including Mirinda, 7-Up and Teem, in what may seem like the opening salvo to a possible cola war.
Pepsi’s new 60cl bottle is a direct challenge to the new entrant in the Nigerian soft drinks market, BIG Cola from AJEAST Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of AJE Group of Peru.
Pepsi began with a Twitter campaign called #ThingsILongThroatForWell, also known as Long Throat Bottle.
Since the launch of the Twitter campaign, the buzz has caught on and Pepsi had positioned some of Nigeria’s biggest entertainment celebrities, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage and Seyi Shay to announce the things they ”Long Throat” for. In the midst of it all, music star, Seyi Shay was introduced by the company as their new Pepsi Ambassador.
The handlers of Pepsi say that the new 60cl Pepsi bottle will retail for the same price as the former bottle. Pepsi’s action is coming on the heels of AJE Group’s market entry into the Nigerian soft drink market.
At the launch of BIG Cola, BIG Orange and BIG Lemon last month in Agbara Industrial Estate, the company said that it would offer 60cl BIG Cola soft drinks and its variants, 15cl more than the competition at the time for N90.
While Pepsi’s recent action is still unfolding, it would be interesting to see how the market and consumers respond to the new offerings. Are Nigerian consumers loyal to a brand that has a long history in the country or will they base their purchasing decisions on who offers the most value?
With Pepsi firing the first warning shot across the bow, what would be the response of Coca-Cola? Sources close to the company say they feel confident that no other company can displace their leadership position in the market. In either case, the consumer will come out better off. Let the cola war begin.