COCA-COLA:

I like Coca-Cola. All past Coca-Cola slogans aside, I like Coke not because “It’s the Real Thing” or because it’s a “Sign of Good Taste.” I don’t really think “Coke Is It” or “Coke Adds Life.” When I drink Coca-Cola, I never actually believe I’ll “Catch the Wave” or “Taste the Feeling” or that I’ll “Have a Coke and a Smile.” Certainly, I may “Be Really Refreshed” on a hot day if I drink “The Cold, Crisp Taste of Coke,” but I suppose any cola would do that in the warmest of seasons, so I’ve never held up a can of Coke and proclaimed that it was the “Official Soft Drink of Summer.”

Indeed, “Life Tastes Good,” but I don’t need soft drink advertising to convince me of that.

My choice of Coke is more of a vague preference. It felt good to drink a Coke. It’s just been “Always Coca-Cola.”
Madison Avenue types would say the Coca-Cola people were talking to me when they came out with the slogan “What You Want is a Coke,” but, if that’s true, the slogans of other soft drinks would have influenced me as well. For the most part, they haven’t.

Now, I fully understand the enticement of being an enthusiastic member of “The Pepsi Generation.” That generation, of course, is not the oldest generation. No, since Pepsi introduced that slogan in the 1960s, it has been aimed at cola drinkers who wanted to feel young and vibrant. The Pepsi people as much as said so earlier this year when they introduced the “Pepsi Generations” advertising campaign, which looks back toward more than a century of the company’s promotional work.

“Through the decades,” a Pepsi spokesman said, “Pepsi has encouraged consumers to have fun, live out loud and enjoy life to the fullest.”

I try to live life in the greatest amount I can, and I drink “the other cola” occasionally, but I doubt that my enjoyment of life has anything to do with whether I hold a can of Coke or Pepsi.

My preference for Coca-Cola seems to go beyond slogans. It goes beyond the taste of Coke, as well, which some testers say is bolder and less sweet—with a hint of vanilla—compared to Pepsi’s more citrus flavor.

I’m pretty sure that I like Coke because of my grade school basketball coach.

The coach of the parochial team for which I played more than a half-century ago let the players on his team bring our dimes and purchase a bottle of Coca-Cola from the red Coke machine in a corner of the school’s combination gym, cafeteria and auditorium.

You’d probably not be surprised how satisfying a cold Coke could be to hot and thirsty 12- and 13-year-olds. And you’d probably understand how respected and rewarded you would feel when the coach would take time to sit down with his team for a few minutes to laugh and talk about life and sip a Coca-Cola of his own.

It’s a memory that sticks with you.

Perhaps, after all, it really is as one other Coke slogan says.

“When Coca-Cola is a Part of You, You Can’t Beat the Feeling.”

—Gary Brown

PEPSI:

I’m not a big pop drinker. If I’m out to dinner, I opt for water with lemon. But if I am going to indulge in a little bubbly—of the carbonated variety—I reach for Pepsi.

Don’t tell my dad, or my mom or my fiancé. My dad’s garage is decked out in Coca-Cola decor—buttons, signs, bottles, you name it.

And my mom could have bought stock in

Coca-Cola when I was growing up. Diet Coke was her drink of choice and still is. My dad would stock both the home fridge and garage fridge with Diet Coke just for her when I was growing up. I think her addiction may have subsided a little in recent years.

Lastly, my fiancé also is an avid Diet Coke drinker—one of the things he and my mom instantly bonded over. Anytime we’re at a restaurant, he’s drinking Diet Coke.

So it might seem awful for me to be supporting the opposing team. But I just never have seen the appeal of Coca-Cola. Pepsi is where it’s at. The syrupy goodness of a Pepsi just can’t be beat. Something about it tastes so much more refreshing than Coke.

In my opinion, Coca-Cola has a bitter quality to it and leaves a bad aftertaste, where as Pepsi tastes smoother. And I’m going to have to side with Pepsi, especially for the fact that it is the manufacturer of one of my childhood favorites: Mountain Dew. Not to mention Mountain Dew Code Red and all the other varieties—yum!

After checking out the website to gather information to further debate that Pepsi is better, I realized that Pepsi also is the manufacturer of KeVita, which I’m drinking a bottle of right now. Side note: If you’re looking for a good probiotic drink or kombucha, you can’t go wrong with KeVita.

Lipton tea is another favorite of mine and is one of many in the very long list of products made by Pepsi. Add Sobe Life Water to the list and Starbucks bottled drinks. I think I’ve made my point. Coca-Cola just can’t compete.

—Kelsey Reinhart

THE VERDICT:

We’re siding with Kelsey this month.

While Gary had a very touching anecdote about drinking Coca-Cola with his coach as a young boy, Kelsey told us of the many products Pepsi has to offer—many of which are very popular, ahem, Starbucks. So we’re going to have to give it to her this month based on the facts she presented.

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