Skip to main content

Pepsi Max rebrands itself as Pepsi Zero.


 Pepsi Max was designed around the height of Energy Drinks and aimed at the male demographic (aged 20-40) because it was mostly a female demo that drank diet drinks. They even used Jeff Gordan (Nascar driver) as a spokesperson to gain the attention of rugged, testosterone filled guys. It seemed like a good idea. However, with cola sales in decline Pepsi has decided to rebrand Pepsi Max as Pepsi Zero Sugar. The branding still includes "maximum taste" on the can, but clearly they've shifted gears. At least, here in America.

Ironically, while the brand Pepsi Max has struggled with consumers in the U.S., in the European market the brand has outsold it's traditional Pepsi products to become the focus of the company's attention. Yet the market seems to constantly misunderstand Pepsi's message when it comes to branding the product. Often they're giving away cans of Pepsi Max in city centres in Europe with "educators" to spread the gospel of zero calorie sodas. Coke does the same.

But back in America, their commercials are still voiced over with a male voice.  The can retains its masculine black can. So what's going on? Apparently, the reformulated Diet Pepsi which changed its main sweetener upset quite a few people. Sales dropped and Pepsi is trying to regain a market share by bringing back Aspartame soda. This goes to show you, when it comes to junk food (including diet soda), the market cares little about what perceived health benefits you gain, at least when it comes to taste. Much like the infamous New Coke reformulation that's now a text book example of what not to do in business, Pepsi is panicked to fix its mistakes. I guess in their rush to fix Diet Pepsi, someone said, let's do something about Max too.

Yet, other than stealing from your competitor, it's nomenclature: Coke Zero, Pepsi Zero seems to miss its mark when it comes to repairing the company's marketing failures. Not only is there a question about the legality of marketing under such a name, but the company continues to market to a demographic that does not generally make the purchasing decisions when it comes to grocery purchases. I get it, it looks attractive to re-brand to a Coke Zero doppelganger when they outsell you, but it's just confusing your customer base more and alienating more of your market with their male focused branding. Whether or not we are actually stupid, Pepsi needs to stop using four letter or less words: Max, Zero, Diet. It's clearly not working. Sell a story, a lifestyle, not a warning message that we're all going to die of heart palpitations or diabetes.

Popular posts from this blog

Food Lion: Saying One Thing and Doing Another

Something strange is going on, something's wrong at my local grocer store, a Food Lion. The deli and bakery are missing. Rumors are flying around town as to what's happening. Did the snow storm crush the roof? Is it water damage or is there something more mysterious? As it happens, it's nothing more than continued renovations of the store... but no one told the customers.

In a world of communications where transparency is often the only thing holding your reputation together, not telling the customers anything seems like a little bit of deception. More importantly, why not tell the customers of your super cool improvements coming their way? Before the local townspeople crack completely at their inability to purchase their sliced bologna, I have to wonder if this is poor public relations or something more.

Food Lion is selling it to the media in larger markets (where curious journalists have reached out to the company's media relations) as:
The remodels are part of Foo…

Does Christmas Music Increase Sales?

I'm sitting in a restaurant on Sunday and the music playing over the speakers is a rather obnoxious blend of no name Christmas songs. Playing were knockoff versions of classic songs to deliver us into the spirit of the Holidays, but for myself, it made me want to leave. As I shoveled food into my mouth as quickly as I could, I contemplated that there are likely some people who absolutely hate Christmas and that they find themselves living in complete Hell for about two to three months out of every year. What might seem as blasphemy for those who live in North Pole, Alaska or Santa Clause, Indiana (yes they do exist), is likely Guantanamo style torture for my waitress. There's even a top ten most annoying Christmas song list with Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer topping the charts. I'll admit, perhaps moving Christmas to a leap year schedule would increase the nostalgia for myself. Christmas seems to come too soon these day and there's a reason I feel this way. Busin…