Crystal Pepsi Promotional Print
|Country of origin||United States|
|Variants||Diet Crystal Pepsi, Crystal From Pepsi, Pepsi Clear|
|Related products||Pepsi, Pepsi Blue, Tab Clear|
In the early 1990s, a marketing fad equating clarity with purity began with the remake of Ivory soap from its classic milky solution; the idea spread to many companies, including PepsiCo. Crystal Pepsi was marketed as a caffeine-free "clear alternative" to normal colas, equating clearness with purity and health. Its marketing slogan was "You've never seen a taste like this".
In 1992, PepsiCo introduced Crystal Pepsi to test markets in Denver, Sacramento, Dallas, and Providence, and the product generated a positive response. Pleased with the results, PepsiCo launched the cola on April 12, 1992, and began to sell it nationwide in 1993. A large marketing campaign was launched, for which the company invented the world's first photo-realistic, computer-generated bus wrap printing. A series of television advertisements featuring Van Halen's hit song "Right Now" premiered on national television on January 31, 1993, during Super Bowl XXVII. Another marketing ploy was to give out full sized sample bottles with the Sunday paper deliveries such as the Boston Globe in Massachusetts. In its first year, Crystal Pepsi captured a full percentage point of U.S. soft drink sales, approximately $474 million. Coca-Cola followed suit by launching Tab Clear on December 14, 1992.
Initial sales were good but quickly fell. By fall 1993, Pepsi pulled the drink off the market, and the final batches were delivered to retailers during the first few months of 1994. Pepsi returned several months later with a reformulated citrus drink titled Crystal From Pepsi, but this was short-lived as well.
According to Coca-Cola Chief Marketing Officer Sergio Zyman, Tab Clear was an intentionally "suicidal", "kamikaze" effort to create an unpopular beverage that was positioned as an analogue of Crystal Pepsi in order to "kill both in the process". The "born to die" strategy included using the poor-performing Tab brand rather than Coke, labeling the product as a "sugar free" diet drink to confuse consumers into thinking Crystal Pepsi had no sugar, and marketing the product as if it were "medicinal". Zyman said "Pepsi spent an enormous amount of money on the brand and, regardless, we killed it. Both of them were dead within six months."
It was a tremendous learning experience. I still think it's the best idea I ever had, and the worst executed. A lot of times as a leader you think, "They don't get it; they don't see my vision." People were saying we should stop and address some issues along the way, and they were right. It would have been nice if I'd made sure the product tasted good. Once you have a great idea and you blow it, you don't get a chance to resurrect it.
Beginning in April 2015 and continuing throughout the year, an online campaign spearheaded by the online personality the L.A. Beast generated enough interest for a call-in and email campaign, circa 37,000 Change.org petition signatures, tens of thousands of Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram tagged comments, 15 billboards erected around the Los Angeles area, and a commitment to ride a mobile billboard truck at Pepsi's Purchase, New York headquarters with a gathering of supporters at a park nearby on June 15 & 16, 2015. The interest from this campaign led to an official response by Pepsi Co. on June 8, 2015, which indicated that Crystal Pepsi may be making a comeback.
In October, L.A. Beast said on Twitter that Crystal Pepsi might be back in December. But that has not been confirmed.
In popular culture
The Crystal Pepsi Song
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On August 5, 2015, YouTube sensation The L.A. Beast released a music video named "The Crystal Pepsi Song" featuring production company That’s Classic. The video was directed by J. Lockhart (credited as Josh Lockhart) and Derek Oxford and shot in Studio 615 in Nashville, Tennessee. The song was released on iTunes on July 26, but the video was delayed by L.A. Beast until August 5.
- Garber Jr, Lawrence L. Color as a Tool for Visual Persuasion, p313. Essay included in Persuasive Imagery ed. by Linda M Scott. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003. ISBN 0-8058-4202-0
- Zyman, Sergio. The End of Marketing as We Know It. Harper-Collins, 1999. ISBN 0-88730-983-6
- Business Digest and Bloomington, Illinois. The Washington Post, April 14, 1992
- "Business Digest". New York Times, April 13, 1992
- Janofsky, Michael. "Pepsi Tries New Diet Cola Abroad". New York Times, 2 March 1993.
- Bryant, Adam. "Coke Adds a Clear Cola To Its New Age Stable". New York Times, December 15, 1992
- Brody, Aaron L and John B Lord. Developing New Foods for a Changing Marketplace, p62. CRC Press, 2000. ISBN 1-56676-778-4
- Denny, Stephen (2011). "Fighting Dirty — Mutually Assured (Brand) Destruction: Tab Clear Versus Crystal Pepsi". Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry. Penguin. ISBN 9781101476215.
- Bernard James Mullin; Stephen Hardy; William Anthony Sutton (2007). Sport Marketing, Volume 13 (Illustrated ed.). Human Kinetics. p. 168. ISBN 9780736060523. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
- "Is Pepsi Clear the return of Crystal Pepsi?". BevReview.com. Retrieved 8-11-09.
|last1=in Authors list (help); Check date values in:
- Kate Bonamici Flaim, Winging It, 19 Dec. 2007, Fast Company (magazine) at http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/119/winging-it.html accessed 29 Sept. 2009
- Rick Aristotle Munarriz. "Coke's Surge Surges Back; Will Crystal Pepsi Be Revived Next?". DailyFinance.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- "Bring Back Crystal Pepsi!", at change.org
- "L.A. Beast - Facebook". facebook.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- E.J. Schultz. (9 June 2015). "Crystal Pepsi Is Poised for a Comeback". adage.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- MAJOR BREAKING NEWS - Bring Back Crystal Pepsi. YouTube. 8 June 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- Charles Riley and Cristina Alesci (11 June 2015). "Remember Crystal Pepsi? It might be coming back". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- "Crystal Pepsi Might Be Making a Comeback! - Us Weekly". usmagazine.com. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- "PepsiCo poised to revive 1990s flop Crystal Pepsi". cbsnews.com. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- "Pepsi might bring back Crystal Pepsi - Business Insider". Business Insider. 8 June 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- "Shooting with the L.A. Beast and That's... - J. Lockhart Media - Facebook". facebook.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- The Crystal Pepsi Song (Feat. That’s Classic). YouTube. 5 August 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.