Talk:Pepsi Challenge

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"For the last decade"?[edit]

The article as it stands says that the promotion has been used "for the last decade." I can remember it from the early 1980s, which means it has been used for at least 20 years, and I am not actually certain that I have seen it any time recently. Might it be better to say a "promotion used by Pepsi in the 1980s"? Does anybody know when Pepsi began using it, or when/if it stopped? Uucp 16:23, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

I've definitely seen in use within the last couple of years in a couple of different countries (Australia and Canada). Prior to the 1990s perhaps it was in use but not with this specific name. Robertbrockway 06:30, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
It was used in the 80's, took a break for a while, and has been used in the last three years or so.

This 1980's reference is wrong, and I can't figure out where to edit the top section. Pepsi Challenge has been around since 1975. Check the Pepsi history on its own webpage....

Taste bud trick?[edit]

I had a teacher (who I trust) tell me that the Pepsi challenge also worked as effectively as it did because the participants were generally offered the drink containing Pepsi first. They would try it and enjoy it. Then they were given the drink containing Coca-cola without something to rinse their mouth out with first. The combined flavor of the residue of Pepsi and the added Coca-cola would be worse than just plain Coca-Cola itself leading the participant to select Pepsi even if they would have normally chosen Coca-cola. He said Coca-cola did similar tests with the ordering reversed and that Coca-cola came out on top in those cases with a opposite but similar ratio. Coca-cola didn't use this against Pepsi because it might confuse the market and come off as overly aggressive.

Has anyone else heard this before? --Some Random IP

Taste bud trick in reverse[edit]

Some twenty years ago, I took the test and was given a monumentally salty bit of cracker inbetween the two cola samples. Offered "to cleanse my palate", i.e., ostensibly for my benefit in testing accuracy. I judged that this was a trick to make the second sample seem sweeter by contrast, and that hence the second sample must have been Pepsi. crap My memory is unclear as to whether the tester showed me the true labels and confirmed my conclusion. Dekaufman 04:18, 21 June 2006 (UTC)


"It is claimed that with the small cup amounts offered of the two substances, Pepsi tends to be sweeter than Coke. Coke tends to be sweeter by the bottle" WHAT?!? How does that work? 19:21, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Malcolm Gladwell has advanced a theory that's similar to this — specifically, the theory is that people seem to prefer Pepsi when merely sipping it, but they prefer Coke when drinking an entire can. I don't know the theory is properly due to Gladwell or whether he simply popularized it. Anyway, the original sentence has been edited away, but some reference to this theory might be in order. --User:rjmccall

Another anecdote[edit]

I took the "Pepsi Challenge" at Taste of Minnesota some time in the 1990's. The Pepsi was fresh and cool, the Coke was lukewarm and flat. I was able to discern which was which, and complained that the test was not fair. The person running the test recorded my preference and gave me the brush-off.--Robaato 12:25, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I had very nearly exactly the same thing happen to me a few years ago at Six Flags in Massachusetts (not that two anecdotes makes evidence). --gwax UN (say hi) 10:32, 25 September 2006 (UTC)


Several items in this article are crying out for citations. I took the Pespsi Challenge twice in the 1980s, and I remember a much different experience. For one thing, I chose Pepsi both times but I was never "given a small prize." There were also no "Q" and "M" labels covering the bottles, but rather a blank screen was placed in front of them. Does anyone have more information about these aspects of the article? Alki 14:28, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

I would like to know the source of the statement that "Psychology researchers" took a deeper look at the Pepsi Challenge ... -- Who were these "psychology researchers" and did they publish their findings? DSatz 17:11, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

I've been looking through all my old notes to find the cites as well as PsycInfo to pull the exact data. A term search for Pepsi Challenge isn't revealing and I've not had time between work and research projects to finish investigating. Nicholastarwin —Preceding comment was added at 17:27, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Yes, this article is full of horrible, biased, uncited statements (on both sides) that I'm now cropping out. The part about Pepsi outselling Coca Cola "wherever the two were sold side by side" is patent nonsense, for example; while it's true that Pepsi's supermarket sales begin to eclipse Coca Cola's, that's very different from the claim in the article. Further, saying that Coca Cola made lots of its sales at fountains and in restaurants is all well and good, but it's worth remembering that PepsiCo even then owned many restaurants of its own, so it was hardly a massive loser in the fountain industry. Basically, this article, while interesting, is terrible as far as an encyclopedia goes and needs to be redone. Nach0king 19:15, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Some Additional Info[edit]

I also took the Pepsi Challenge in the early 1980's, and the "prize" which I got was a "I Took the Pepsi Challenge" promotional button, a scan of which I just posted to this article (along with a contemporary '80s promotional can). I should note that I chose Coke, but I believe that the payoff was the same no matter what the choice. While my two challenge choices did not have letters on them, I definitely remember around that time the "M" and "Q" controversy. In fact, I even remember the solution (and I wish I could find and cite the source) which was to use instead the "more neutral" letters, "S" and "L". TeemPlayer 21:34, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Excellent addition, TeemPlayer. Maybe I did get one of those buttons and it has simply slipped my mind. I must admit I picked Pepsi twice, which mortified me at the time! Alki 03:59, 11 December 2006 (UTC)


I seem to remember reading about the Pepsi Challenge somewhere as an example of poor use of statistics. It said something along the lines of Pepsi claiming that 50% of Coke-drinkers who took the Pepsi Challenge actually chose the Pepsi, which doesn't prove that 50% of Coke drinkers prefer the taste of Pepsi, but more likely indicates that Coke-drinkers cannot discern any difference between Pepsi or Coke. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:44, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Correct. A proper discrimination test requires a two-out-of-five protocol or triad protocol typically used in sensory testing. Also, the PC didn't counterbalance the order of presentation. Pepsi was always presented first. Nicholastarwin 17:25, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Pepsi Challenge Computer Game[edit]

I distinctly remember a computer game (of a very similar ilk to Pacman et al) that was called Pepsi Challenge. Anyone else? This what you looking for? Tubba Blubba (talk) 07:35, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

As an individual that actually took the so called 'Pesi Challenge" when it was presented at the Fairview Shopping Cente in Montreal Canada - I think it might be interesting to present what actually happened: I was presented with two unmarked small cups and asked if I could pick the Pesi. Of course I could!! So they marked that down. No one ever asked which I PREFERRED - and I actually much prefer Coke. The 'Pepsi Challenge' should actually go on record as one of the biggest marketing fraud schemes in history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:06, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Formal Test?[edit]

Hasn't there been any formal testing? When I was at university, the Sensation and Perception class conducted a widespread test (though not formally submitted for publication) of the Coke vs. Pepsi challenge, and would think it would make for better science. This method works on just identifying what is what. It worked like this: Each participant was given 10 blank miniature paper cups lined up in a row, 5 with coke, and 5 with pepsi. They are arranged in a random order determined by a computer and the real contents are kept hidden from the them. The participant is also give a bottle of water and a bowl to spit into. They would drink the cups one at a time, and record what they thought each was on a card, rinsing and spiting between cups.

The result: There was no ability to determine which was coke and which was pepsi with any measure of accuracy that could not be accounted for by random guessing or chance.Legitimus (talk) 17:15, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Actual taste[edit]

Though not about the "challenge" itself. It would be interesting to have an accounting of how people may actually taste things differently. When I was a kid I would drink Pepsi and recall on a hot day it would be very refreshing. But since I've been an adult Pepsi literally tastes like something that is not supposed to go in your mouth. Generally putrid and poisonous. And the taste is never the same. I don't know if my palette has changed or if Pepsi has changed, but the lack of consistency seems to suggest that the product itself is of poor quality. My mother though still swears by Pepsi as she always has. I've never tasted a Coca Cola or Royal Crown bottle/can that tasted different. Fountain drinks I don't usually drink because they usually taste like cleaning fluid. Animals seem to have their own preferences, many prefer excrement to bread for instance. Maybe people have different taste buds, and I'm sure palette (your brain maps to different kinds of food from the day you are born) would have something to do with it. -- (talk) 17:41, 7 August 2011 (UTC)


I think the part about X-factor is not relevant at all to this page, I don't get the connection between the Pepsi Challenge and choosing songs for the show X-factor (talk) 17:01, 20 August 2012 (UTC)