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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Groundhog Day Over and Over Again....

So if you missed it last week, Pepsi is coming out with Pepsi Next, a mid calorie drink that has about 60 calories per can.

My question is...why?

What are they thinking?

Mid calorie/half the sugar/half nice and half naughty products litter the graveyards of new product launches. In the soft drink industry alone, heck, specifically in the cola category, mid calorie products have come and gone with little success. Its not like we have to go back to the far reaches of time to find these failures either. In 2001 Coke rolled out "C2", a half calorie version of Coke. It was a disaster. Three years later, Pepsi thought they could do it better and launched "Pepsi Edge" which left us almost as quickly as it appeared. In the interim we've seen everything from Dr. Pepper 10 to vitaminwater10 to Trop50 - none of these are exactly setting the world on fire.

Why? Because consumer sentiment tends to be - if I am going to indulge myself, I am going to indulge myself. I am not going to go half way. I either am going to indulge or I am going to be "good". It's kind of like being half pregnant - you either are or your aren't. Consequently, the successful product launches in this category have taken a zero calorie proposition and made it taste better (Coke Zero) vs. trying to get someone to sacrifice a few calories for a little bit of taste.

So, we'll see how Pepsi does with this latest half baked, half calorie cola. My guess is that it will join its brethren in the half calorie graveyard, where the graves are only halfway dug.....