The Atlanta Falcons won’t be in the Super Bowl. Neither will Coca-Cola.
The hometown beverage giant isn’t an official sponsor of the National Football League or the big game, unlike arch-rival PepsiCo. That’s leading to a few indignities for Coke, which is used to painting this town red.
Such as all the big, bright, blue Pepsi ads going up around Coke’s favorite haunts. Or plans to cover logos on Coke’s coolers and fountain machines at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium while the Super Bowl is being played there. Bottled Cokes will be banned inside, though its fountain drinks will still be available, just in Super Bowl-labeled cups. The company’s Dasani bottled water will be served – after their labels have been stripped off.
PepsiCo, a paying NFL sponsor since 2002, for the first time will get to serve its namesake cola in the stadium where Coke normally holds licensing rights.
Coke isn’t alone in facing marketing one-upmanship when the NFL brings its biggest party of the year to Atlanta on Feb. 3.
Many of Georgia’s big corporate citizens helped the city and the local host committee prep for the gathering, but they aren’t the NFL’s Super Bowl sponsors. Not Coke, UPS, Chick-fil-A, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Holiday Inn parent IHG or mattress company Serta Simmons. Their big out-of-town rivals are, though, from FedEx to McDonald’s, Ford, Marriott and Sleep Number.