American Democracy

Imagine a duopoly between Coke and Pepsi. Both products taste pretty much the same and both have pretty much the same ingredients. So Coke and Pepsi compete on advertising, trying to convince you that consuming their product makes you a part of the freedom generation or the youth generation while consuming the other makes you a communist, a terrorist, or a racist. Periodically, one firm will gain an advantage on the other firm in advertising so the disadvantaged firm will roll out the “Mountain Dew” brand again. People have varied tastes so they appreciate the change being offered to in terms of expanded choice for soda consumption. The previously advantaged firm, however, won’t competitively respond by re-introducing it’s own brand of “Mellow Yellow,” which it has rolled out before. Rather it will competitively respond by launching a negative advertising campaign against Mountain Dew. It’s a “universal solvent.” It causes cancer. It threatens the viability of both Coke and Pepsi. Mountain dew threatens anarchy. Of course, the negative campaign fails and the previously disadvantaged firm regains it’s lost market share. It then promptly removes Mountain Dew from it’s product line. It’s back to Coke and Pepsi again. Of course, at some point, the firm that has “Mellow Yellow” will roll out it again when it finds itself at a competitive disadvantage from advertising. The other firm will not respond by re-offering “Mountain Dew,” rather it will respond by launching a negative advertising campaign against Mellow Yellow. It causes homo-erotic thoughts. It causes doubts about the exceptionalism of Coke and Pepsi. Of course, people like the taste of Mellow Yellow so the firm will regain it’s lost market share. But as soon as it does, it will remove the product from it’s line.

One thing Coke and Pepsi certainly agree on, and they cooperate in joint public service announcements on this matter, is that Dr. Pepper is anti-american and threatens the public safety. Dr. Pepper is an informal drink produced at the grassroots. But if it becomes too popular, well then it will be bought out by one of the firms. And the other firm will produce it’s own line of Mr. Pibb. One thing is certain, now that Dr. Pepper is properly regulated, it’s no longer a threat to public safety. Of course, neither is Mr. Pibb.

This is American Democracy…

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