Pepsi, Bud Light unite against common enemy

The companies were already close. Now they hope a broad marketing push will steal Super Bowl fans from Coca-Cola.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 14, 2013 9:23AM
Bud Light in a cooler at the Toluca Mart liquor store in Los Angeles; A shopper reaches for a bottle of PepsiCo Inc.'s Diet Pepsi soda ( Fred Prouser/Reuters; Chris Rank/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) and PepsiCo. (PEP) are joining forces to battle Coca-Cola (KO) ahead of the Super Bowl, which may stoke speculation that the two companies could one day merge.

The companies are teaming up for promotions and in-store marketing that will plug Bud Light, Doritos and Pepsi, according to Advertising Age. The move makes sense given that the two companies are trying to appeal to the same sort of consumer: young males who are sports fans. It seems plausible that these people would snack on chips while drinking beer and soda during the big game. This also makes sense economically.

Both companies, which have worked closely together for years, are trying to reignite interest in their products. Last year, the brewer of Budweiser and Stella Artois reported worse-than-expected third-quarter results as beer sales to U.S. retailers fell 0.4%, as Reuters and others noted. PepsiCo. has lagged Coca-Cola for years in the cola wars, though lately it has made some inroads against its rival.

The companies will tout one-stop shopping for Super Bowl parties. It may not be an easy sell. Pepsi lags Coke and Diet Coke in the soda market. Doritos, made by Pepsi's Frito-Lay, is the best-selling chip. Its sales, however, are under pressure as consumers become more health-conscious. Business Insider noted that companies plan to run ads for Pepsi, Doritos and Budweiser during the game.

"The promotions, which will get heavy play leading up to the Super Bowl, come after the two companies had previously touted snacks such as Doritos alongside beer brands," according to the publication.

In 2009, the two companies announced that they would jointly purchase certain goods and services such as information technology, office supplies and travel. A year later, Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo. expanded their agreement to include spending on advertising.

A merger between the makers of Bud an Pepsi may never happen since the two companies already are close collaborators, which might make it difficult to find additional savings.    However, unless the fortunes of both companies turn around dramatically, pressure for Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo. to merge will only increase.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed products. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

More on Money Now

Jan 14, 2013 11:37AM
Coke & Coors should join forces and declare the battel on.
Jan 14, 2013 1:17PM
Coke. Stand Alone! You need no one. Bud was sold out to investors years ago and Pepsi is asking for outside American help. Coke does not need a beer to beat PEPSI. Coke can even beat Bud. Bud is no longer American and it seems that Pepsi is looking for the same way out, foreign investors. America, you decide..... Coke-US OR Pepsi soon to be bought by outside investors just like Bud.
Jan 14, 2013 2:47PM
Pepsi Marketing geniuses fall flat on their faces again. In-Bev should buy them out and get rid of these idiots. I wouldn't buy Pepsi if it were the only brand available. Arrogant, declining and the lack of good management has been their problem for the last 15 years. They were only viable when the brand was distributed by independent Bottlers who spent more time knowing their customers and less time listening to Headquarters pontificate their so called marketing plans.
Jan 14, 2013 2:05PM
i am a coke person always have been always will be.
Jan 14, 2013 1:00PM
Budweiser should be sold next the Charmin.  Nasty crap!

I might only drink a half dozen Cokes a year but if offered pepsi or anything AB makes, I'll find some water thanks.
Jan 14, 2013 1:44PM
Coke does not need to merge with anyone.  There is a reason it has been THE Super Bowl supporter - because it is the Best!
Jan 14, 2013 1:41PM
I use coke to remove battery acid from the terminals on my car.  Tried to use Pepsi, wouldn't cut it.  Can't imagine what it is doing to the stomach.
Jan 14, 2013 12:45PM
Ummmm, pretty sure it should say 'tout' one stop shopping not taut.
Jan 14, 2013 3:05PM
LOL. What person in his right mind would walk up to a bar and order a "Bacardi & Pepsi" drink? Answer: NO ONE! It will ALWAYS be "Bacardi & COKE!"
Jan 14, 2013 1:53PM
"turn around dramatically"? Pepsi is one of the most successful companies in history and you make it sound like they are falling off a cliff.  I bet you don't like Apple much either.
Jan 14, 2013 4:12PM
Always loved Coke.
Never cared for Pepsi itself, but years ago when Pepsi had made Josta, I was a fan of  that pepsi product.

Jan 14, 2013 12:25PM
Advertise all you want. Much prefer Coke over Pepsi. Seldom drink, especially Bud. Can live without Doritios but they do have a small appeal.
Jan 14, 2013 1:16PM
Two failing companies unite to fail together against the greatest soft drink company in the world.  Sounds like an episode of the Biggest Loser.
Jan 14, 2013 6:20PM
Jan 14, 2013 1:11PM
Jan 14, 2013 4:32PM
Don't know how anyone can stand the taste of Pepsi. There is an after-taste reminiscent of pine needles. Yuck.
Jan 17, 2013 2:22PM
I won't drink anything that can be used as paint remover.  Coke ought to join up with the makers of Pepsid to mask all the damage it's doing to your stomach!  I've never been able to stand the after taste of a Coke, and after testing whole "takes paint off a car" theory for myself and literally watching the paint dissolve like chalk... nope, will NEVER touch the stuff.  Pepsi is sweeter than Coke, and I'll take that over battery acid any day!
Jan 14, 2013 12:49PM
it makes sense, seeing how both bud light and pepsi share the step in the manufacturing process where their respective products get strained through a baboon's ****.
Jan 14, 2013 3:17PM
I would not even call Bud Light Beer...
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