Archive for Crystal Pepsi

A Crystal Pepsi Retrospective on its 20th birthday

Posted in advertising, Pepsi, pop culture, soda with tags , , , , , on April 12, 2012 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

Today is the 20th birthday of Crystal Pepsi. So in honor of our see through friend, I thought I’d take a look back at one of the more maligned soda drinks of our time.

In the ’90s there was a movement within America that equated clarity with purity. Pepsi decided to jump on this trend and create a colorless decaffeinated soda. Pepsi hoped that people would notice a colorless soda above other darker sodas and think that it’s more pure due to it’s colorless appearance and assume it would have less artificial coloring. Pepsi dubbed their new soda Crystal Pepsi and released it and a diet version to 9 test markets in early 1992.

After the drink faired well in test markets, a huge marketing campaign was developed and Crystal Pepsi was released nationwide in April 1992 to huge fanfare. The commercials were shown during Super Bowl XXVII. The Van Halen single “Right Now” was used on the commercials and the tagline for the soda was, “You’ve never seen a taste like this!”

Many people don’t remember, but Crystal Pepsi did well the first year grabbing almost 1% of the soda market. It did well enough to cause Coca-Cola to develop and release Tab Clear in December 1992. In 1993, however, the interest waned. Crystal Pepsi didn’t taste any different than regular dark Pepsi, which confused people because clear colas usually have a citrus taste. Sales dropped off and Pepsi pulled it off shelves. It was quickly reformulated into Crystal by Pepsi which was still colorless, but had a citrus taste like everyone expected.

By then, though, the damage was done and Pepsi canceled the soda in America in late 1993 – 1994. Crystal Pepsi continued to sell well in Europe for another year or so but was eventually canceled there also. The Crystal Clear concept quickly became a joke and was mocked on late night talk shows and eventually in a classic Saturday Night Live commercial, Crystal Gravy (via Redux).

PepsiCo quickly moved on and Crystal Pepsi eventually became a shameful footnote in the company’s history (a la New Coke).  As a special promotion, however, Pepsi did release a Pepsi Clear in Mexico in 2005. Presumably, it used the same Crystal Pepsi formula.  I’m unsure if it had a citrus flavor or not.

More soda history:
1. Misunderstood: The Saga of New Coke
2. The Story of OK Soda
3. Pepsi Patio: The Secret Origin of Diet Pepsi

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I have an article on Skooldays blog

Posted in nostalgia, Pepsi, pop culture, soda with tags , , , , on June 15, 2009 by Paxton

skooldays_site

Just a quick note, I was asked by the blog at Skooldays to write a few nostalgic articles for them.  So every once in a while I’ll be posting a nostalgic memory about an item from our pop culture past, much like I do right here on this blog.  Only, over there, the articles will be a bit shorter.  This week, I had an article posted about Crystal Pepsi. Hop on over to their very cool, nostalgic site and take a look at my article, first, of course, then check out the myriad of other remembrances from our pop culture past.