By the time the Super Eagles and their fans are sipping chilled Coca Cola en route the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, there will be only one thing on the minds of the marketing managers of Pepsi, and that will be ruing a missed opportunity to partner with the biggest social brand in Africa.
Pepsi and Coca Cola have been arch rivals in the Nigeria beverage market, with Pepsi capturing the biggest entertainers in the country, including the biggest music concerts in Nigeria. Davido’s N30 billion concert comes to mind. Coca cola on the other hand have the popular Coke Studio Africa.
Now, to the error made by Pepsi, which I think their hierarchy will talk about for a long time. The Nigeria Football Federation on 17th January announced a partnership deal with Coca Cola which also make Coca Cola Nigeria the official soft drink of all Nigeria national teams. Despite the history between the NFF and Coca Cola, Pepsi ought to have got this deal at least three months before NFF’s announcement.
The Nigeria Football Federation had earlier approached Pepsi in its aggressive push for sponsors and partnership, immediately after the Super Eagles qualified for Russia 2018 World Cup and discussed a potential deal with Pepsi, but Pepsi dilly-dallied.
Just before Nigeria played Argentina in Krasnodar, in an international friendly, the NFF talked about it again and Pepsi apparently told the NFF to wait until after the friendly.
Unknowingly to Pepsi, the Krasnodar event will be the turning point.
NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammad Sanusi revealed how great oratory qualities by NFF President, Pinnick Amaju, persuaded Coca Cola International president to trigger what will become a great deal for the company and a missed opportunity for Pepsi.
Coca Cola are one of FIFA’S official partners, so it was at the FIFA trophy tour in Krasnodar, that Pinnick made the speech that amazed Coca Cola.
Dr Mohammad Sanusi narrated to AOIFootball.com:
“The NFF signing a partnership with Coca Cola was brokered in Krasnodar, Russia. It was the speech of Mr President, Amaju Pinnick during the FIFA trophy tour that moved Coca Cola International president.
After the speech, the Coca Cola president called Pinnick and asked why they, Coca Cola were not partnering the Nigeria Football Federation. He immediately called Coca Cola Nigeria and told NFF that both Coca Cola International and Coca Cola Nigeria were willing to partner Nigeria football.”
Sanusi then revealed how Pepsi had delayed what was supposed to be a deal with them.
“It was supposed to be NFF and Pepsi, but they delayed too much after we approached them and told us to go to Krasnodar first while they analysed if they would do the deal,” Sanusi said.
Although Pepsi became more popular in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital after its “Decembaa” strategy, it’s obvious the Super Eagles may represent a bigger marketing loss.