The former World of Coca-Cola building next to Underground Atlanta has been largely vacant since the beverage company moved its museum blocks away to near Centennial Park in 2007. The building, currently managed by the State Building Authority, is shown in 2013. David Tulis / AJC Special
Photo: David Tulis/David Tulis
Photo: David Tulis/David Tulis

Super Bowl push: Pepsi sets concert beside ex World of Coca-Cola

Pepsi is temporarily taking over space for Planet Pepsi, “a highly immersive and interactive party” alongside the former World of Coca-Cola building in downtown Atlanta.

So much for PepsiCo’s earlier call for a cola truce with its big beverage nemesis, Atlanta-based Coke, just in time for the Super Bowl in town.

Pepsi has dibs on a plaza beside the building, which has been largely vacant since 2007 when Coke built a new museum blocks away near Centennial Olympic Park.

Pepsi -- an official Super Bowl sponsor, unlike Coke -- is planning a live-stream concert tonight featuring rapper Travis Scott inside the adjacent Georgia Railroad Freight Depot. It also was planning to project a Pepsi image into the area of the former Coke building, which is near the State Capitol. 

900802 - ATLANTA, GA -- The World of Coca-Cola building. (Ron Hoskins / Special)
Photo: Ron Hoskins

But the company doesn’t have rights to be in the former Coke building nor to project any images on it, according to Morgan Smith-Williams, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Building Authority which maintains the now-state-owned facility and the adjacent plaza where Pepsi has rented space through a third party.

Otherwise, Smith-Williams said, “that would be in the hands of the capitol police.” 

Pepsi didn’t have an immediate comment in response Friday afternoon. In an earlier emailed statement, marketing vice president Todd Kaplan wrote, "We wanted to find a venue that we could turn into 'Planet Pepsi,' creating a highly immersive and interactive party featuring Travis Scott to kick-off Super Bowl weekend. Well, we found a great location in downtown Atlanta to bring our brand to life using projection mapping and other immersive technologies for our fans and consumers."

A Coke spokeswoman declined comment.

Duane Stanford, the executive editor of trade publication Beverage Digest, which reported on the event, said “it seems like Pepsi is having a lot of fun with this Super Bowl in Coke’s hometown, and this seems to be another example of them poking the bear.”

Pepsi recently rolled out a blue wave of advertising around the city in preparation for Sunday’s game. It even propped a special-made statue of its founder beside that of Coke’s founder outside the current World of Coca-Cola. Coke unveiled its own offerings: lighting its headquarters tower in red, creating a national TV commercial to air just before the game and funding a month’s worth of free admission at the nearby National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

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