Pepsi. Playgrounds or flavor?


PepsiCo is managing its broad portfolio and having issues. If you put all the brand managers from all the Pepsi brands (Frito Lay, fast food, etc.) into MetLife Stadium (referred to with a smile as “the snoop”), it might fill the lower level of seats.  With all those people gathering paychecks wouldn’t you think someone might come up with a new line of drink to help grow the soda business which is flat, flat, flat?

Water is done. Orange-flavored drinks done. Energy drinks done-ish. Teas still have some upside, but corporate knows putting the pedal down will cannibalize the sugar water business. So what’s next? Pepsi needs to be as innovative as the tech sector. It needs to travel the world for the next cool flavor. And let’s start with flavor before we delve into the nutritional benefits – which are very important but secondary if trying to grow the drink market.  Pepsi’s CEO Indra Nooyi should empty the building in Purchase, NY and send people packing for 3 months – on global expeditions to find the next flavor. It’s out there, we just forgot to look.  Can you say cola nut?

I enjoy ranting about Pepsi Refresh.  What a mess!  What a lucky marketing tactic for Coke. Could Pepsi have selected anything more non-endemic to the brand?  The only thing endemic is the word refresh, which they stole from Coke. But ironically, they’re using the reboot definition.  Ms. Nooyi find a new flavor!  Don’t build us a playground.  Build us a new drink to grow the category. Peace!