Pepsi detected what it considered to be a gap in the market. What the world was waiting for, the company decided, was a clear cola. After all, there were already a wide variety of diet colas, cherry colas, sugar free colas, caffeine free colas, colas with added caffeine and all of these had achieved a certain level of success. So, why not a clear cola? After months of tests and experiments, the company managed to obtain a new and clear formula and decided to call it “Pepsi Crystal”. They also manufactured a diet version: Diet Crystal Pepsi.
Both products, Pepsi believed, answered the “new demand for purity” of the consumer. After all, it was a time when consumers were starting to decide between a bottle of Evian or Perrier with the same frequency as they were deciding between Coke and Pepsi. The only problem was that people expected that a product with the word “Pepsi” in its name would have the taste of – Pepsi! In fact, no one seemed to know what it tasted of! After a little more than a year, Pepsi stopped production of Crystal Pepsi and started working on a new, clearer formula.
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In 1994, the remade product appeared on the shop shelves with the simple name Crystal and only made in the normal version. However, the negative perceptions continued and the second version of Crystal was even worse than its unpopular predecessor. Pepsi finally admitted defeat and completely eliminated the concept of clear cola. But as it never wanted to give in completely, it continued to be aware of the “demand for purity of the new consumer”. In 1994, the same year that it had launched Crystal, Pepsi decided that it wanted a part of the growing market of bottle water.
So, it launched its own bottled water product, called Aguafina, which had considerably better success than Crystal in the American market. In addition, had more general marketing problems over the years. In particular, it had problems differentiating itself from Coca Cola. As it wasn? t the first to commercialise the category of cola, Pepsi was never going to be the generic name. It was very rare that people said “I? m going to have a Pepsi”. Even if they had a bottle of Pepsi in the fridge it was more likely that they said “I? m going to have a Coke”.
However, in spite of the fact that this situation couldn? t be avoided for many years the Pepsi brand couldn? t manage to give the product a distinctive identity. In addition to this an important fact is that Pepsi infringed what Al and Laura Ries call “The Law of colour, one of its 22 Immutable Laws of Branding”, in the book of the same name. They say: “There is a very dominant logic in selecting a colour that is the opposite of your most important competitors .. Cola is a reddy-brown colour, so the logical colour for the brand is red.
This is the reason that Coca Cola has been using red for more than 100 years. Pepsi-Cola made a bad choice. It chose red and blue as colours of the brand. The red to symbolise the cola and the blue to differentiate the brand from Coca-Cola. For years Pepsi has struggled with a less than ideal solution to the colour strategy of Coca-Cola. However, not long ago Pepsi sacrificed the colour red in favour of blue in order to create a distinction between the two leaders. Now Coca-Cola means red and Pepsi means blue.