THE OTHER GUY BLINKED: How Pepsi Won the Cola Wars by Roger & Jesse Kornbluth Enrico

THE OTHER GUY BLINKED: How Pepsi Won the Cola Wars

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Pepsi has not yet won the cola wars, but its Wunderkind provides a breezy anecdotal account of how his hang-loose company has managed to pull even with the redoubtable Coca-Cola. Covering much the same ground as Thomas Oliver's praiseworthy The Real Coke, The Real Story, Enrico offers a brisk rundown on the long-running rivalry and his own career. The bulk of the fast-paced narrative, though, is devoted to an inside version of events since 1983, when the author was named president of Pepsi USA at age 38. After a rocky start, Enrico recounts, he hit his stride and began causing his archcompetitor pain. Without giving away much as to how he read the underlying demographics, Enrico reports organizing product and merchandising campaigns designed to attract a new generation of consumers to PepsiCo's beverage lines. Among other risky gambits, the author launched Slice brand soft drinks (notable for the inclusion of real fruit juice) and made Diet Pepsi the first low-cal beverage wholly blended with Nutrasweet. Enrico, however, will probably be best remembered as the executive who made megabuck wagers on the promotional powers of show-biz icons like Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, and Don Johnson, plus such political celebrities as Geraldine Ferraro. Most if not all Enrico's long shots paid off, and the gains recorded by Pepsi USA apparently played an important role in Coca-Cola's 1985 decision to reformulate its flagship brand. The author's team responded gleefully to this epically ill-advised move, pinning a loser's image on the original brew. In the event, when the dust finally settled, Pepsi was in a virtual dead heat with the market's traditional bellwether. Shrewdly, Enrico, as a consummate gamesman, appears more than happy to tweak the opposition while, almost literally, beating their brains out. In this cheerfully contentious context, his insights are not unlike a soft drink--zesty and transiently refreshing.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Bantam