Americans are drinking less soda, and that’s cutting into the bottom line for the two biggest soft drink brands, Coke and Pepsi, making sales of other products in their line that much more important. You could say the modern-day “Cola Wars” are actually “Water Wars,” because the real battle seems to be coming down to which water, tea or other non-cola beverage consumers are choosing… and there appears to be more similar products coming soon. Some people have started buying Custom Water because of this to participate as well.

That’s not to say Coke and Pepsi sodas are not still flying off the shelf. They are, just not in the quantities the brands had come to expect. Pepsi, for example, is reporting “solid growth” in its line of LifeWTR and probiotic cleansing drinks. Pepsi is also reportedly seeing strong sales in Asia and South American, for both is soft drink lines and its ancillary snacks — PepsiCo owns Frito Lay and Quaker.

Coca-Cola is also looking to shore up lagging soda sales with other drinks and snack options, though it’s taking a slightly different approach than Pepsi. Faced with falling soda sales, Coke doubled down, introducing multiple different Diet Coke flavors targeted directly at Millennials, the group most likely to choose Something Other Than Soda. The new Diet Coke options appear to be a big hit, helping Coke see its first success with the Diet Coke brand in several years. So, some industry analysts are begging the question: “If it worked for Coke, what will Pepsi do?”

Imitation as competition has been the hallmark of the soft drink market for decades. When one brand introduced a flavor that hit, the other wasn’t far behind. Fans lined up on both sides and, to this day, you will have people who love one brand’s “diet” or “cherry” or “lemon-lime” flavor but detest the competitor’s version as an inferior copycat. Will Coke’s success with “new” Diet Coke flavors inspire Pepsi to try that as well? Bet on it. According to CNN, Pepsi has admitted “working on some things with flavors” for “core Pepsi brands.” So, will we see Diet Pepsi Lime on the shelves sometimes soon? Nothing certain about that yet, though Pepsi does say they will continue to work on more non-soda offerings.


One of these new ideas Pepsi is working on will reportedly be in the sparkling water category. Since Pepsi announced this initiative, Coke has come out and said it, too, will soon release a Coke-branded sparkling water, going so far as to purchase the rights to market an established brand in the U.S. If Coke can get that water on the shelves before Pepsi finishes their branded sparkling water, Coke will gain another edge in being first to market… and the “cola” wars could kick off all over again.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5W Public Relations

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.