The announcement of the college’s switch from Coke products to Pepsi products was revealed to students at the beginning of December and went into effect over Christmas break.
While Coke fans may not be pleased with the decision, Jeff Ingle, Vice President for Finance and Administration, explained that the decision came down to the greater services that the Pepsi Company was able to provide.
Maryville College had a contract with Coke for roughly 10 to 12 years but decided that it was time to become a Pepsi campus and entered into a five year contract with the popular, rival beverage company.
Ingle explained the process the administration went through in order to make an important decision like this one.
The companies submit their proposals and the proposals, along with the benefits each company would have for the Maryville College community, are then reviewed.
Many factors led to the college’s decision to switch from Coke to Pepsi. Ingles believes that between the two “there was no real competition.”
Besides the financial benefits, Pepsi’s wide product range was also an important deciding factor. Ingles mentioned that products like Mountain Dew, Gatorade and Starbucks drinks are a few of the popular drinks that Pepsi is able to provide that Coke cannot.
Pepsi was also willing to be more involved with the Maryville College community through giveaways, contest, tastings and voting. Ingles said,
“They are very interested in giving students what they want from a product selection stand point.”
He explained that students in each residence hall will soon have the opportunity to vote for what they want to be in the vending machines. Pepsi has worked with the school to allow each building to have different beverages in their vending machines, so Carnegie may have different drinks in their vending machines than Lloyd or Gamble does. Ingles explained that Pepsi’s willingness to work with the students set them apart as over the last few years the college’s relationship with Coke had been simply more of a financial one.
Ingle explained that they also discussed the benefits the change would have for student athletes. According to Ingles, Gatorade is often preferred by athletes over Powerade. Pepsi will also provide Gatorade powder, coolers, water bottles, and towels free of charge to the athletic department.
However, Ingles believes that one of the greatest benefits Pepsi will provide is great service. They have given the athletic department quality coolers, and they have put in new vending machines on campus that have the ability to accept debit and credit cards. Ingles also stated that he is optimistic about Pepsi’s service response time, so services such as fixing broken machines and moving machines should improve. This was an important factor in the decision as, according to Ingle, over the last few years Coke had begun to diminish in this area.
All Coke and Pepsi loyalties aside, for the administration the decision came down to what each company was able to provide for the college community. “They [Pepsi Company] really wanted to be on Maryville College’s campus and it showed in what they brought to the table,” Ingle said.