The drink that made you feel like you could fly but tasted like sadness.
Crystal Pepsi was a beautifully clear alternative to Coca-Cola’s, making it the choice for those who yearned for the clarity of the 90s.
If we’re honest, Crystal Pepsi was a disaster for the brand.
It was certainly exciting, and like most failed products, it led to some pretty funny stories.
Crystal Pepsi was ahead of its time and too transparent for its own good- its original shelf life lasted only a few years in the early ’90s.
Right from the way the sodas were advertised set the clear soda up for failure.
Going back many years, sodas were medicine, believe it or not, Coca-Cola was made with a pinch of cocaine thrown in, and Pepsi was advertised as aiding digestion.
Funnily enough, both sodas were virtually blackish-brown in colour.
Now, most of us associate the colour brown with the cola flavour.
For many years both Coca-Cola and Pepsi taught their consumers to associate the colour brown with their soda drinks.
Not long after, the world started to associate brown with more sugary sweetness and clear, lighter, citrus-flavoured drinks.
It was that way for a while before Crystal Pepsi showed up; hence the product seemed to go against one of the basic concepts: cola was brown.
Even today, we haven’t forgotten Crystal Pepsi.
The now-retired creator David Novak made an astonishing admission.
David admitted that if he had just listened to his staff, Crystal Pepsi may still be on the shop shelves.
It was most definitely clear when Pepsi made the product, but it certainly didn’t taste like the original Pepsi.
One of the biggest reasons for the soda’s failure was the taste.
While Pepsi had trained its consumers to associate brown with cola, it’s not entirely out of the world to think that the right kind of marketing could have changed consumers’ minds to think clearly Pepsi is pretty awesome.
Within the marketing, no one cared to explain to us consumers why we needed clear Pepsi.
That is one area Pepsi tripped up.
It was just marketed as something that had been thought up and now existed.
No reason was given as to why we needed to be excited about it.
No real reason was ever given to consumers why it was a product they needed in their lives.
So what was the point?
One of the stranger facts about Crystal Pepsi is the fact that it gave consumers anxiety!
People developed physical symptoms of anxiety when given this product.
They didn’t know how to react!
A study showed that the product was too far from the ordinary and too unexpected.
The combination of precise and Pepsi wasn’t cutting it.
Nothing is better for the human body than water.
The water is clear.
So, when crystal Pepsi emerged, consumers weren’t sure if it was healthy.
As Crystal Pepsi hit the shelves, the world was starting to avoid drinking sugary, heavier soft drinks. Pepsi aimed to fit in with this and give consumers a drink that would be seen as a healthier option. The label on the bottle said differently. Even though the drink was caffeine-free, it was filled with 130 calories and packed with high fructose corn syrup. We knew this wasn’t the stuff of the healthy drink.
So, was the “healthier option of Pepsi” just a fad?
Coca-Cola hit hard.
Pepsi came out with Crystal Pepsi and sunk vast amounts of cash rolling out this new product. Coca-Cola saw the opportunity and hit Pepsi, where it hurt by releasing its Tab Clear cola and stamping on both products’ image. “A way to ambush Crystal Pepsi is to do a kamikaze on them — commit suicide and kill them in the process,” said Sergio Zyman.
When Crystal Pepsi first appeared on shelves alongside regular Pepsi, it sold pretty well, taking 0.5% of the entire market with its peak of popularity.
In 2016, Crystal Pepsi quickly returned to stores due to online pleading from fans needing a Crystal Pepsi fix.
It sold out quickly, and that was supposed to be the end of it.
Funnily enough, in 2017, Crystal Pepsi again reared its head. It was the second and final time Crystal Pepsi would be making a comeback.
“Why?” you ask.
Because a competitive eater on YouTube posted a video of him drinking an old bottle of Crystal Pepsi and immediately throwing up! What a way to make a comeback.
The round two success of Crystal Pepsi was partly because consumers had built up some understanding of the product.
It was a part of the ’90s, a part of their past, and they marketed it that way the second time around.
Consumers took to Twitter to talk about how they were re-experiencing part of their youth, even going as far as calling Crystal Pepsi “liquid history.”
It’s more than a little weird, considering how the product initially flopped because so many people didn’t know what to make of it.
Add a few years into the equation, let the uncertainty become nostalgic, and have a winning formula.
Crystal Pepsi: A Clear Vision of the '90s Crystal Pepsi, the innovative and transparent soft drink that captured the hearts and taste buds of a generation, has sadly left us after a brief but memorable life. Born in 1992 as a daring venture from PepsiCo, Crystal Pepsi was a trailblazer in the soft drink industry, representing the optimism and curiosity of the early '90s. A Clear Vision Crystal Pepsi's vision was crystal clear: to offer consumers a refreshing taste experience that defied expectations. The brainchild of then PepsiCo executive David Novak, Crystal Pepsi emerged in response to the growing popularity of clear beverages in the market. An embodiment of the '90s zeitgeist, the drink represented a break from the norm and was embraced by many as a symbol of a new era. The Taste of Success Upon its debut, Crystal Pepsi gained notoriety for its unique look and marketing campaigns that promised a taste as pure and unadulterated as its appearance. The soft drink boasted the familiar flavor of its traditional counterpart but delivered a lighter and crisper experience that resonated with fans. The iconic "Right Now" commercial, featuring Van Halen's hit song, further cemented Crystal Pepsi's status as a cultural phenomenon. A Bittersweet Farewell Despite initial success, Crystal Pepsi faced challenges as the novelty of its transparent appearance waned. In response to declining sales, PepsiCo discontinued the beverage in 1993. However, Crystal Pepsi remained a nostalgic favorite, prompting a limited-time revival in 2016 and 2017 that allowed fans to relive the magic of the '90s. Though Crystal Pepsi's life was brief, its impact on the soft drink industry and popular culture was undeniable. It will forever be remembered as a symbol of '90s innovation, optimism, and experimentation. We bid a fond farewell to Crystal Pepsi, a beverage that dared to be different and, for a time, captured the imagination of a generation. May it rest in peace, never to be forgotten.
What was the point of Crystal Pepsi?
There was no real reason given to consumers why it was a product they needed in their lives. So what was the point?
What did Coca-Cola do to sabotage Crystal Pepsi?
Coca-Cola saw the opportunity and hit Pepsi, where it hurt by releasing its Tab Clear cola and stamping on both products’ image. “A way to ambush Crystal Pepsi is to do a kamikaze on them — commit suicide and kill them in the process”, Sergio Zyman, the CMO at Coca-Cola at the time.
What other beverage failed as hard as Crystal Pepsi?
New Coke is often cited as one of the biggest beverage blunders in history. In 1985, Coca-Cola replaced its 99-year-old formula with a new recipe called New Coke. The public hated it, and Coca-Cola was forced to bring back the old formula just 79 days later.
Why did Crystal Pepsi make a comeback in 2016?
In 2016, Crystal Pepsi quickly returned to stores due to online pleading from fans needing a Crystal Pepsi fix. It sold out quickly, which was supposed to be the end of it. However, in 2017, Crystal Pepsi again reared its head. The second and final time Crystal Pepsi would return was due to a competitive eater on YouTube posting a video of him drinking an old bottle of Crystal Pepsi and immediately throwing up. What a way to make a comeback!