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Why Crystal Pepsi and Others Failed

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Why Crystal Pepsi and Others Failed

We live in a day and age where marketing and advertising is stronger then ever. It is essentially in our face every where we turn, from the clothes we wear to the music we listen to and even the device we use to listen to our music. Marketing and advertising touches our lives everyday without our really ever even noticing it. Marketing professionals have a difficult challenge before them in figuring out a way to create a public interest, and a want for their products if they are to become adopted. Various marketing communications tools provide the means to which they will best reach the public. In the early 1990's marketing professionals for PepsiCo choose to heavily promote and advertise a new variation of their popular original Pepsi formula creating one of the largest craze's for a soda variation in the last two decades.

April 13th 1992, PepsiCo introduced an exciting change to its popular Pepsi product in the test cities of Providence, Denver, and Dallas and called it Crystal Pepsi. This is believed by many to have been one of the best ideas that PepsiCo had ever came out with, as they simply removed any and all coloring from Pepsi, creating a healthier and visually stimulating product. During the 1980's, Madison Avenue advertisers created one of our society's most aberrant spectacles yet, the pinnacle of decades of pop culture and advertising prowess, The Cola Wars. In our technological, media-driven, consumer-happy, and product-driven culture, selling and consuming soda has certainly become one of our biggest American pastimes. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo squared off for decades in various advertising coups trying to sell more soda to the already overly indulgent American public. A seemingly easy goal, but these companies have tried everything from using pop-stars, bold and daring challenges and most recently the chance to win a billion dollars on national television just for drinking their products. Throughout the 1990s, this trend continued. Among many new advertising campaigns, many soda companies tried introducing flashy new products that would catch as much media attention as possible. Crystal Pepsi sailed through the approval process. Focus groups loved the stuff, and test marketing was excellent. Crystal Pepsi went national in 1993 with a full scale media campaign featuring Van Halen's 'Right Now.' In the ad blitz that followed, sales were impressive... and then it flopped. Perhaps the American culture wasn't too easily fooled when it came to taking a familiar product and putting a new spin on it. Maybe the flavor difference was just too distracting. However the massive ad campaign was impressive. The soda's splash on the market was highlighted by being the focus of a Saturday Night Live parody for 'Crystal Gravy' featuring Kevin Nealon & Julia Sweeney dipping turkey drumsticks into a clear, gel-like replacement for everyday gravy (CaptainMike).

The last phase of Crystal Pepsi's life was when it was re-solicited to the masses as a citrus flavor drink. It was quickly drowned in a sea of other flavored, non-cola beverages. Today, a web search for the term 'Crystal Pepsi' turns up over 160,000 web sites usually discussing in passing as in 'It will fail quicker than Crystal Pepsi' or 'Remember Crystal Pepsi? Me neither.' It is a true urban legend among the last wave of Generation X-errs and the subsequent children of the 1980s.

According to an article published by CNN Money, "Pepsi Blue was one of more than 100 concepts Pepsi tested. Two-thirds of teen-agers the company asked said they would buy it regularly, the company said. 'Pepsi Blue has the potential to reinvigorate the cola category,' said Gary Rodkin, CEO of PepsiCo North America. Though Coke has been No. 1 in soft drinks for decades, analysts have pointed to Pepsi's strong growth in recent years that has helped it gain ground on its larger rival. Dave Burwick, Pepsi's senior marketing vice president, had said in a statement that the company had been considering a 'cola fusion' for months, and that the majority of teenagers polled said they would like to see a berry-flavored cola with a blue color. Since it is aimed at a youth market, Pepsi planned

to sample the cola at teen-oriented places and advertise it on the Internet and through outdoor postings" (CNN Money). While Pepsi Blue showed early promise just like Crystal Pepsi, once again time come to see Pepsi Blue pulled off of shelves and PepsiCo add another failed variation to its history books.

Where would Pepsi be if they didn't join the carb craze of the new-millennium? After all how could they resist trying to grab a piece of the niche where sales grew a healthy 42% to $478.3 million for the current 13-week period ended June 12, 2004" (Wilke)? Americans know they



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