Beverage Industry

PepsiCo promotes mid-calorie Next launch

March 13, 2012

PepsiCo, Purchase, N.Y., announced that Pepsi Next, a cola with 60 percent less sugar than Pepsi-Cola, will launch nationwide March 26. The cola’s launch is intended to meet the needs of a segment of consumers who are resistant to full-calorie and diet soft drink offerings, the company said. Pepsi Next contains a blend of cola flavor and combination of sweeteners to closely mimic the taste of regular cola, but with 60 percent less sugar, according to the company.

“We’re on a mission to get consumers to experience the real cola taste of Pepsi Next for themselves,” said Angelique Krembs, vice president of trademark Pepsi marketing, in a statement. “We’re excited that after years of research and development, we’ve unlocked the great taste of Pepsi Next, the choice for consumers who want real cola taste with less sugar.”

The company is planning a Walmart sampling program at 800 Walmart Supercenter stores starting March 26 and running through the end of April. Consumers can visit Pepsi Next’s Facebook page to locate a Walmart sampling event. It also will conduct in-market sampling in more than 40 cities nationwide, the company said.

In addition, Pepsi Next will create a TV ad featuring an excited young couple recording their first interaction with Pepsi Next while missing unbelievable acts by their baby in the background who is dancing and doing handstands. The 30-second ad will begin airing nationwide March 26 on prime time and cable networks, and will be complemented with online and radio advertising, the company said.

The brand’s Facebook page also hosts a digital application where users can “taste” new Pepsi Next with its “Improv You” Internet taste test, which uses improv and “Funny or Die” comedians to create videos of fans tasting Pepsi Next for the first time. Famous faces also will be used in multiple cities to surprise lucky fans with a first taste of Pepsi Next. The company also is planning targeted and relevant Hispanic advertising and grassroots marketing to promote the brand’s launch.

PepsiCo also announced changes to its management team and a new structure that will allow its global groups to work across regions to fully leverage the power and scale of the company. PepsiCo Americas Foods Chief Executive Officer John Compton has been named to the new position of president of PepsiCo. Compton will report to Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo, and assume responsibility for all of PepsiCo’s existing global category groups, including global beverages, global snacks and global nutrition, global operations, global marketing services, and corporate strategy, according to the company’s announcement.

In addition, Former PepsiCo executive Brian Cornell returned to the company in the role of chief executive officer of PepsiCo Americas Foods. Cornell was most recently the chief executive officer of Sam’s Club, a club store chain owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. He will be responsible for Frito-Lay North America, Quaker Foods & Snacks North America, PepsiCo Mexico, South America Foods, PepsiCo customer teams and all Power of One activities within the Americas, the company said.