Virgin Chairman Sir Richard Branson drove a tank into Times Square and crushed a bunch of Coke and Pepsi. What a badass, rolling into NYC in a British Tank to make a statement on his enemy’s turf.
Unfortunately, the marketing victory would be the only victory for Virgin Cola on US soil, because then Coke pretty much shot Virgin Cola in the face with a missile launcher, and Virgin was obliterated. The soda did have some success in Europe, but for the most part Sir Richard Branson has since turned his focus to other projects that make him one of the most prolific entrepreneurs of all time, and a personal hero of mine.
From his book, “Business Stripped Bare”:
“Starting a soft-drinks war with Coca-cola was crazy. It was one of our highest profile business mistakes, though it was also one of the things that raised the profile of the Virgin name in America. Launching Virgin Cola in 1994, we were having fun and reveling in underdog bravado, so pleased to be snapping at the heels of the biggist dog in town. Taking on Coke taught us two things: how to make a great cola with a different taste; and how to antagonize a global business that brought in $28 billion in 2007, with profits of $5 billion…Yes, we somehow contrived to blind ourselves completely to the power and the influence of a global brand that epitomizes the strength and reach of American capitalism.”