Costco vs. Coke – And the Winner is: No One?

In the war that is apparently the norm in soft drink pricing, negotiations are usually held behind closed doors. But on November 17th the doors were blown open as Costco refused to restock Coca-Cola products because they failed to offer ‘competitive pricing.’ When a similar pricing dispute occurred in February between Delhaize, a supermarket chain, and Unilever brands, Delhaize lost 31% of its customers, while Unilever lost 47% of Delhaize shoppers.
So does anyone win these disputes? We decided to turn our VoxTrot monitorís attention to the online conversation surrounding the Costco/Coke dispute to see what the Twitterverse thought.
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The Twitter users who chose a side in the dispute were closely split, with 11% supporting Costco and 14% for Coke. Many Costco supporters saw them as a champion of the consumer, while supporters of Coke said they shouldnít back down from corporate bullying. One in five mentions were just plain sad about the situation, trying to figure out where they would now purchase their pallets of Diet Coke.
Not all Tweets were concerned. Some were incredulous about the lack of Coke products in Costco, as 18% thought that the whole public dispute was crazy or astonishing and 12% cracked jokes about it. The rest of the conversation was pessimistic about the clash, with 15% ready to dismiss it as simply two corporate giants battling over a few cents per can and the last 10% remarking that competitors to Coke (Pepsi) and Costco (Walmart) were going to benefit.
So who is winning? Perhaps the question should be: is anyone winning? For the few who take a side, the sentiment is even, but most everyone else is sad, disdainful, amused or betting on the competitors, none of which seem positive for either company. As far as the Twitterverse goes, it appears that everyone is losing, including the consumer.

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