The Next Pepsi Failure

26 02 2012

If at first you don’t succeed, just re-brand it and launch it again. The customers will never know.

At least that’s how Pepsi apparently thinks. Coming this Spring is Pepsi Next, which is no fewer than its fourth attempt to introduce a mid-calorie cola.

Starting back in the mid-1980s with Jake’s Cola, and then through successive decades with Pepsi Edge and Pepsi XL, the Number Two soft drink maker remains convinced that Americans want a soda with 60 calories. Arch rival Coca Cola has also made the same mistake (with C2), but at least they learned from their failure.

Pepsi Next comes hot on the heels of yet another oddball calorie offering, that being DP10 from Dr Pepper. DP10 touts having 10 calories…but what they forget to tell you is that it is 10 calories for an 8-ounce serving. Regardless of packaging size, Dr Pepper continues to confuse everyone with the 10-manly-calories catchphrase. For a convenience store bottled soda (20oz bottle), it really has 25 calories.

To Pepsi’s credit it has not explicitly declared if it is targeting males. Pepsi is rumored to be working with Simon Cowell’s X Factor, a singing competition show that is probably not going to draw the same viewership that Dr Pepper is targeting.

But target markets aside, why can’t Pepsi learn from its past mistakes? After 25 years and three failed brands, you would think that lessons would be learned. And why would they go to all this effort and expense (repeatedly) to just cannibalize their own market share? Surely they don’t think they are going to gain much incremental business. Especially when those who truly want a mid-calorie drink can just mix a little Pepsi and Diet Pepsi to achieve the same result.

This is an idea whose fizz went flat a long time ago. Can anyone say Darwin Award nominee?

Dr “Shallow End Of The Gene Pool” Gerlich


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