Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design


Soda War Storefronts in San Francisco

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

While preparing for a friend's wedding, I got a chance to visit up north to San Francisco. This time, I was quite fearless walking the streets, armed as I was with a Google Maps app. Unlike the previous years where I stuck mostly to taking the BART, I took the Muni all over the city.

What I found was a strange thing: soda signage. There are so many other things in San Francisco to look at, you say, and I would agree, but I was taken by how often I'd see corner stores with either a Coca-Cola or Pepsi logo emblazoned in front. It reminded me of the many small streetside stores in Manila hawking their wares under a soda sign. (Just do a Google Image search for, "sari-sari store Manila" if you don't believe me.)

Spotted North of the Panhandle.
I worked in retail in another lifetime and I know signage like this was a tactical thing for the softdrink makers. The more often you see their logo, they reasoned, the more you would trust their brand. Competitive streaks eventually overtook the practice and, in the Philippines, representatives would dutifully make sure as many stores carried their logo.

Years later, in San Francisco, that marketing tactic returned to me as I kept on passing these soda branded-signs. The soda wars were played out all over the world, it seems, from the streets of the Philippines to the sunny corners of San Francisco.

On Mission Street.
On Guerrero Street.
On 20th Street.


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