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tiggerpolice 06-16-2005 01:49 PM

Pepsi vs Coke... a Saints taste test challenge

In the late seventies Pepsi launched a famous marketing campaign known as the Pepsi challenge. Blindfolded consumers took a sip of Pepsi and one of Coke and were then asked to make a choice. Pepsi beat Coke hands down, or at least thats what Pepsi said.

Determined to prove the ads were false Coca Cola conducted their own private surveys. The results were unexpected. People did choose Pepsi more often. Mostly they described Pepsi as sweeter. And the people at Coke took that to mean people preferred Pepsi. In perhaps one of the biggest product change blunders in history, Coke changed its age old formula and New Coke was born.

New Coke was sweet like Pepsi and retained the distinctive coca cola flavor. But the same people that voted for Pepsi in the taste challenge hated New Coke. It was a monstrous flop. Why, you ask? Was does that have to do with the Saints? Well, we will get back to that. Lets talk now about Governor Blanco and the Saints.

First a few words about Governor Blanco. Outside her unpopularity in some circles, including most Saint's sites, she is getting good grades by many on her first year. Even her opponents give her high marks in some areas. She is really focused on attracting business. She is seen as not quite as arrogant as some perceive former Governor Foster and not as crooked as some of her democratic predecessors. Her politics seem more middle of the road than right or left. She does have some sense of what her voters want.

Enter the Saints. How do the majority of voters in Louisiana see the saints? In a taste test challenge who would win, Blanco or Benson?

I can tell you this, the saintsreport forum is no barometer of how the majority of the people in the state feel about subsidizing the Saints, no more than an ACLU forum board would reflect how most people view gay marriages. State subsidies for the Saints are hugely unpopular with almost everyone I talk to outside of diehard Saint's fans such as myself. I have had many friends who know I like the saints tell me they would rather see the Saints leave than finance them.

So it would seem that Governor Blanco is free to play hardball with the Saints. Thats what the majority of people in Louisiana want. In a taste test of Blanco/State v Benson/Saints, consumers in the state seem to be overwhelming picking Blanco.

So now we go back to Coca Cola and New Coke. What did they miss? How did one of biggest companies in the world with one of the most famous brands in the world screw up so badly by changing the formula for coke?

Well the answer is they misunderstood what the challenge results meant. As it turns out consumers would pick the sweetest taste after one sip. But toward the end of the whole bottle, New Coke was too sweet. Coca Cola relied on a first impression, knee jerk taste test.

This is where Governor Blanco needs to be careful. Right now people in Louisiana who have "sipped" the Saints have a sour taste in their mouths. The saints are losing the taste challenge against the state. The governor and other legislators are getting the message that if they play hardball with the Saints and the Saints leave, there will be no political fallout.

Perhaps Governor Blanco and some others in the state should take heed from the Pepsi challenge. Yes, many people have a bitter taste in their mouths from Saints football. This is a Saints forum and there are even some here who would let the Saints leave.

But when that whole bottle is done and the saints have left, will all those people feel the same way? When the start of the NFL season comes along and there are no Saints to watch, will some of the same that praised Blanco for her hard stance blame her because they have no local team to root for? Every year the superbowl rolls around will some of the same newspapers that were critical of the Saints write about how much fun and profitable superbowls were in New Orleans? Will so many of my friends who tell me they really don't care that much about the saints miss them when they are gone? Will part of Governor Blanco's legacy be that the Saints left on her watch?

Let us all hope a compromise can be fashioned. Governor Blanco is in a difficult spot right now. If she gives in to Benson and gives too many concessions she looks really bad. If the Saints leave on the other hand, the long term political fallout might be more than she and her advisers anticipate. Even those of us who desperately want the Saints to stay understand the Saints will have to compromise and make it work for the State too.

Coca Cola had some of the best business and marketing minds in the world at work for them and they misread what people wanted. The data seemed so clear to them. As it turns out, drawing final conclusions based on one sip can have disastrous results. Lets hope the Governor and our legislators think about the long term reaction of voters if the state loses the Saints, not the one sip reaction. People might be a lot more upset about the Saints leaving than a poll taken today would indicate.

Sidenote: I have recently replaced some of my diet coke habit with diet pepsi thanks to my golf playing pal who runs a pepsi distributorship and keeps the pepsi's flowing when we play. Its tough when we play course that do not serve pepsi, he would die of thirst before drinking a coke and I have to hide my cokes from him as I think he beats me worse when he sees me sipping beverages from the evil empire.
st dude

WhoDat 06-16-2005 03:22 PM

RE: Pepsi vs Coke... a Saints taste test challenge
Good point, I guess. People don't know what they've got 'til it's gone. Then again, I think the Governor has mostly played the Saints situtation wisely. Legislators have screwed it up. Blanco isn't perfect - far from it - but she's volleying with Tom Benson better than just about any other Governor ever before.

Danno 06-16-2005 03:49 PM

RE: Pepsi vs Coke... a Saints taste test challenge
I think if you ask people do they favor subsidies or paymnets to ANY successful business you'll get the exact same results as asking them about the Saints, probably even worse.

How about an up or down vote on directly giving our money to ANY business in this state, whether its tax breaks or incentives? Ha, probably not gonna see that one eh?

"Corporate welfare? Fine, as long as it isn't the Saints"!


Danno 06-16-2005 03:58 PM

RE: Pepsi vs Coke... a Saints taste test challenge
Here's another question.

Do you think the State should take the 15 million they promised someone else and spend it on a hot-air balloon race and an Oil and Gas museum?

Danno 06-16-2005 04:01 PM

RE: Pepsi vs Coke... a Saints taste test challenge
Here's yet another one.

Should the state allocate the 8/10,000ths of their yearly budget to honor their previous agreement?

Danno 06-16-2005 04:03 PM

RE: Pepsi vs Coke... a Saints taste test challenge
Here's yet another one.

Do you think bickering with the Saints is simply a diversion by politicians to distract attention away from the largest state budget in Louisiana history?

Danno 06-16-2005 04:06 PM

RE: Pepsi vs Coke... a Saints taste test challenge
Here's yet another one.

If I gave you 100 dollars, and you gave me 1000 dollars in return, did I really just give away 100 dollars.

Euphoria 06-16-2005 05:32 PM

RE: Pepsi vs Coke... a Saints taste test challenge
...all some great points. I think what people have a problem with is these payments and then being asked to upgrade the Dome or new one. Benson isnt going to take the money and fix up the Dome... why? its not his Dome! NFL needs to step in and tell Benso to give up the payments and let the state spend that money on fixing up the dome.

mayoj 06-16-2005 06:32 PM

RE: Pepsi vs Coke... a Saints taste test challenge
Sometimes you can't afford coke or pepsi so you buy the 12 pack of BigShot.

Benson is definitely asking too much, too much even if he were in a larger market area, but he is the owner and he can do just that at the risk of losing business.

Blanco is confined by lack of money, a poor system that blows previous outlets for the money, and trying to maintain a political image. (I do want to add here that a contract is a contract, and all the bs that has come up about NO fronting the money for the payments, esp after not giving NO the money owed from Harrah's taxes, is a huge bucket o bs) point which is now all mixed up, is that at the end of the day Benson will charge whatever he wishes for his product (whether right or wrong) and when the state reaches into its tattered pocket that continuously loses change through the worn out holes, it just be a matter of not having the money at which point the po state of LA will turn to the other machine and purchase a BigShot or Arena Football.

Hopefully, Blanco can mend the pockets a little bit to keep this from happening. The hardest job of a politician who truly wants to make a difference is not to keep filling its pocket with change but fix the holes and change the system. It doesn't happen often, and I don't think it's going to happen too soon in LA.

Tobias-Reiper 06-16-2005 07:12 PM

RE: Pepsi vs Coke... a Saints taste test challenge
.. I knew that dribble sounded familiar...

.. I digress...

... I would say this... in the past 20 or so years, the State of Louisiana has lost businesses 1000 times over what the Saints bring, and it is still standing (somewhat)... losing the Saints is not going to kill the State... and who knows, maybe there will be more conventions lined up during those 8 weekends a year that would actually offset the loss, maybe it'd even be a better deal for the State, who knows...

... it's not like New Orleans would be losing Mardi Gras or the Sugar Bowl..

... now, don't get me wrong, it's not like I want to see the Saints leave... but I cannot see where the demands for more money and consessions are going to stop, because a) a new stadium is NOT going to magically bring new money, but simply squeeze more money out of the current fan and b) those 15,000,000 dollars a year are just not going to cut it in the NFL's financial world in 3-4 years...

..keeping with the analogy, people didn't like new coke because it sucked, and no one likes things that suck.. kinda like 8-8's...

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