Pepsi Max has been a challenger in the Norwegian market for 20 years. As Norway’s second bestselling soda, Pepsi Max wanted to challenge Coca Cola in an epic battle for the top position. They did so by giving themselves and all of Norway a real challenge – could sugar free beat sugar on taste?

The Pepsi Taste Challenge, one of the world’s most famous marketing campaigns, was launched for the first time in the mid-seventies. Traditionally it has been Pepsi who have challenged Coca Cola on taste, so when Pepsi Max decided to challenge Coca Cola, it was the first time in history that a sugar-free soda challenged the world’s best-selling sugary cola on taste.

The campaign was based on our belief that if we could get people to taste for themselves, without knowing which of the two sodas they were drinking, they would go by their own actual liking, not by brand perception or a biased brand preference.

Getting ready for the biggest blind test in Norwegian history is not an easy task. The blind tasting events would be key to the campaign’s success, and careful planning of where and when these events should take place was essential to secure maximum participation.

Blind taste events were executed across the country, 86 events in 27 cities. In the end, more than 100 000 Norwegians had taken part in the blind test, making it the biggest test of its kind, ever to be held in Norway.

To activate fans and consumers in PepsiCo’s owned channels, mobile games and competitions were launched on Pepsi Max’s Facebook page and website, enforcing the brand’s personality while at the same time making sure that people had the right tools to share the campaign with their friends.

Nearly 60% of the participants in the blind tests thought Pepsi Max tasted better or equally as good as Coca Cola.

33% of all participants who reported a preference to Coca Cola before the test actually changed their preference to Pepsi Max after the test.

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