Irony is something I enjoy capturing, as you already know, especially when it comes to branding. Take this recent image from my favorite hot dog joint in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Yesterdog:

Note the vintage Drink Coca-Cola signage on the wall, directly behind the modern soft drink fountain, delivering only Pepsi products, to my great disappointment. Now, I’m not suggesting this is another example of initial interest trademark confusion at work. Despite Ron Coleman’s protestation to the contrary — that was, but this isn’t. After all, it didn’t bring me into the restaurant, and once in, the impressive variety of vintage signage adorning the walls makes obvious the point that the signage is part and parcel of the look and feel of the place:

What I was surprised to learn from one of the Yesterdog folks is that they’d like to be offering Coke products, but to do so, the Coke representative apparently would require the removal of their non-Coke signs from the walls. Seriously? Why would a brand owner seek to enforce such a requirement, especially when so many of the signs promote the Coca-Cola brand?

Does the Coca-Cola brand really want to be remembered only as a brand from the past — to subliminally reinforce Pepsi’s branding as: The Choice of a New Generation? Now, I didn’t do a sign count, but it took some work to find a vintage Pepsi sign, and even then, it was engulfed with vintage Coca-Cola branding at every turn:

So, could one of our expert branding friends please explain to me how the reported requirement from Coke actually serves to support the Coca-Cola brand, if at all? 

Last, given the title, I trust you’ll agree that this post would not be complete before reminding everyone of all that can go wrong when the words “Pepsi, No Coke” are spoken, at least in the fictitious Olympia Cafe.