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Current bottle of Pepsi Black
|Country of origin||Ukraine, United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey|
|Variants||Pepsi Max Cappuccino, Pepsi Max Twist, Pepsi Max Punch, Pepsi Max Cherry, Pepsi Max Ginger and Pepsi Max Vanilla.|
|Related products||Pepsi ONE, Diet Pepsi|
Pepsi Max (also known as Pepsi Black in some countries) is a low-calorie, sugar-free cola, marketed by PepsiCo as an alternative to their drinks Pepsi and Diet Pepsi. It is sold primarily in European and Asian markets.
A drink with the same name but different formulation (containing ginseng and higher quantities of caffeine) was sold in the United States until it was renamed to "Pepsi Zero Sugar" in late 2016.
Pepsi Max debuted in Australia, United Kingdom and Italy in April 1993. The rollout was expanded to Ireland the following September, and to France, Greece, Spain, Portugal the Netherlands the following December. By the end of 1994, Pepsi Max was sold in approximately twenty countries. By the end of 1995, that figure had more than doubled. The product remained unavailable in the United States until 2006 (the U.S. is PepsiCo's native market, and the largest consumer of carbonated soft drinks), where one of its principal ingredients had not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The ingredient in question—acesulfame potassium—is combined with aspartame to provide the beverage's sweetness, whereas some other diet colas are sweetened by aspartame alone.
It's one of the most well known drinks in the world. On 28 May 1994, England's Blackpool Pleasure Beach amusement park opened the Pepsi Max Big One steel roller coaster. At the time, the Pepsi-sponsored attraction was the world's tallest and fastest roller coaster. Both records subsequently were broken elsewhere, but to this date, it still remains the tallest roller coaster in the United Kingdom, and one of the tallest and longest coasters in Europe.
In early 2005, Pepsi Max Twist (with added lemon-lime flavour) joined the UK and Australian product line. In autumn 2005, Pepsi Max Punch was marketed in the UK for the festive season. Containing ginger and cinnamon, the product was similar in flavour to Pepsi Holiday Spice, a sugar-sweetened variety of Pepsi that was marketed in the U.S. one year earlier. In late 2005 and early 2006, a coffee-flavoured variety was introduced in France, Finland, Ireland, Norway and the UK. Known as Pepsi Max Cappuccino (Pepsi Max Coffee Cino in the UK), the product is predated by the similar Pepsi Kona (briefly test-marketed in the U.S. in 1996) and Pepsi Tarik (available in Malaysia since 2005).
Pepsi Max was introduced into South Korea, Bulgaria and the Philippines during 2006, as well as being reintroduced into Argentina in the spring of 2006 after being phased out after its launch in 1994. As well as this, Pepsi Max was introduced into Brazil, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE during early 2007.
In October 2008, Pepsi announced they would be redesigning their logo and re-branding many of their products. Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max all use lower-case fonts for name brands, Mountain Dew was renamed "Mtn Dew," and Diet Pepsi Max was re-branded as Pepsi Max. The brand's blue and red globe trademark became a series of "smiles," with the central white band arcing at different angles depending on the product. The new imagery has started to be used. In the case of Pepsi Max, besides the renaming of the drink to its international name, the logo has a large "smile" likely to emphasize the North American drink's "Wake up people!" advertising campaign, and also uses black in the bottom half of the globe as opposed to the more standard royal blue. The new lower-case font used on Pepsi's products are reminiscent of the font used in Diet Pepsi's logo from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. The website for the "Wake up people!" campaign now redirects to the Pepsi Refresh Project. It is expected that the version of Pepsi Max outside North America will adopt the new logo used by its U.S. / Canada counterpart; this has now occurred in Australia. In the UK, the cans now have the 'pepsi' text and the new Pepsi globe (with the normal pepsi 'smile' and the blue bottom half, as opposed to the black half used in the US) but the 'Max' is in the previous style.
A Pepsi Max Lime version was released in the United States in February 2010 under the name "Pepsi Max Cease Fire". (which later introduced into the UK in late 2011) It was cross-promoted with a new flavor series of Doritos chips called "3rd Degree Burn". In July 2010, Pepsi began to move its North American branding for Pepsi Max to match its global branding. It now carries a Max typography similar to what is used worldwide, and rolled out a new slogan: "Zero Calories. Maximum Pepsi Taste." Its formula has not been changed. In May 2011, Pepsi introduced the drink to Spain. In 2016, the drink was introduced to Venezuela.
In 2017, the drink was reintroduced in Belarus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, India, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine as Pepsi Black. As of 2017 it is available as Pepsi Max in Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.
Recent UK/Australia Pepsi Max television advertisements have featured the taglines "Maximum taste, no sugar" and "Don't worry, there's no sugar." Some have incorporated extreme sports and video games such as Motocross Mania in an attempt to appeal to young men (in contrast to other diet cola drinks, which tend to target young women). The British advertising campaign involved retouched versions of the American "Do the Dew" commercials for Mountain Dew (A variant of which is sold in the UK ), rebranded as "Live life to the Max".
Coca-Cola Zero, a sugar-free cola from the Coca-Cola Company, is marketed in a similar manner. In the UK some Coke Zero advertising alluded to Pepsi Max, leading to a robust counter-campaign by Pepsi directly extolling the virtues of the concept of "maximum" over that of "zero."
|Lemon and Lime Twist||Pepsi Max with a Lemon and Lime flavor. It was sold in the United Kingdom and Argentina for a time and was sold in France under the name Pepsi Max Citron Citron Vert.|
|Cease Fire||Pepsi Max with a Lime flavor. sold in North America during 2010, and Australia in 2011 which was cross-promoted with limited edition Degree Burn flavors of Doritos. It was later sold in the UK as Pepsi Max Citrus Freeze in 2011, being promoted with Jalapeño Fire Doritos as a part of a promotion. It was later re-released as a permanent flavor in Australia as Pepsi Max Lime, and was later released in France under the same name.|
|Punch||Pepsi Max with a Ginger and Cinnamon flavor. It was sold in the UK during Christmas 2005 and is similar to the North American Pepsi Holiday Spice which was sold the year before and the year after.|
|Coffee Cino||Pepsi Max with a Coffee flavor. It was sold for a short time in some European countries.|
|Cool Lemon||Pepsi Max with a Lemon flavor. It is currently being sold in The Netherlands and Belgium.|
|Chill||Pepsi Max with an Apple flavor. It was sold in Sweden and Finland as a limited edition in the summer of 2007.|
|Mojo||Pepsi Max with a Mint and lime flavor. It was sold in Finland as a limited edition in 2008 and was also sold in Denmark until August 2009 under the name Pepsi Max Mojito.|
|Cherry||Pepsi Max with a Cherry flavor. It was first sold in the UK in 2011 and has since become available in Germany, Norway, Denmark and Finland. It was also released as Pepsi Max Cherry Blast in the United States in 2015.|
|Ginger||Pepsi Max with ginger flavour. Released in the UK, Sweden, Finland and Germany in 2017.|
|Vanilla||Pepsi Max with a Vanilla flavor. It was first sold in Australia in 2017.|
In December 2008, advertisements for Pepsi Max that depicted a cartoon calorie committing suicide were run in a German lifestyle magazine, which resulted in a scandal and the revoking of the ads. One of the three ads featured a bean-shaped character simultaneously shooting himself in the head, with a noose round his neck, and poison in his other hand. The character is supposed to be “one very very very lonely calorie.”
Beginning in early 1994, an entirely different Pepsi Max was marketed in Canada. Now regarded as a precursor to Pepsi Edge, it was sweetened with a combination of aspartame and high fructose corn syrup. As a result, it contained 2/3 fewer calories than full-sugar colas (including regular Pepsi), but more calories than conventional diet/light colas (or the version of Pepsi Max sold elsewhere). The Canadian product was discontinued in 2002; the Diet Pepsi Max product introduced in 2008 has no direct relationship to the earlier formulation.
In popular culture
The soft drink has also been seen in the popular "Uncle Drew" commercials, featuring Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.
In the 2001 PlayStation one game, Motocross Mania, Pepsi Max logos are on the sides of all the race tracks.
There is an in-universe advertisement for Pepsi Max on the Tour Championship course in the movie Happy Gilmore.
A Pepsi Max vending machine can be seen during the hospital fight scene in the 2015 film Terminator Genisys.
In the Japanese anime "Tiger & Bunny", Superheroine blue rose is sponsored by pepsi max and is used as a commercial in the anime.
The soft beverage has been discussed and is frequently enjoyed by Seth Romatelli and Johnathan Larroquette on countless episodes of the seminal comedy podcast "Uhh Yeah Dude". It is often inexplicably referred to as "Pepsi Max" by Mr. Romatelli many years after having been renamed to "Pepsi Zero Sugar".
- Thomas Grillo (December 4, 2008), Pepsi kills ads depicting suicide, Boston Herald
- "BBDO Airs "Suicide" Ads for Pepsi Max — CBS News". Bnet.com. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- Creamer, Matthew (2008-12-02). "Pepsi Opens Vein of Controversy With New Suicide-Themed Ads | Global News — Advertising Age". Adage.com. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- Klein, Ethan. "doritos and pepsi max [h3h3productions]". YouTube. Retrieved 21 January 2017.