Pepsi Not Feeling Blue

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- PepsiCo Inc., the number-two beverage company in the world, probably will keep its future new colas one color -- brown. That's one of the lessons Pepsi-Cola has learned from the lackluster performance of Pepsi Blue, Katie Lacey, Pepsi-Cola North America's vice president of cola marketing, told The (N.Y.) Journal-News.

"What we were setting out to do was to introduce a product that was geared toward teens, young adults -- and in fact, we had those teens and young adults help us design it," Lacey said. "Where Pepsi Blue didn't live up to expectations was we got fewer than the broad or adult usage than we had hoped for. It did great with teens and young adults, but not in a big enough way across the broader spectrum."

Pepsi-Cola North America began selling the bright blue-colored, berry-flavored cola last summer, about the same time Coca-Cola began selling Vanilla Coke. Pepsi-Cola sold 17 million cases of Pepsi Blue last year, while Coca-Cola sold 90 million cases of Vanilla Coke, according to Bedford-based Beverage Digest. Pepsi-Cola North America's share of the carbonated soft drink market fell 0.2 points to 31.6 last year.

"I think one of the things we learned is that colas probably need to stay brown. It is one of the uniquely distinct characteristics of colas. Where kids love colors and they were willing to push the envelope with Pepsi Blue, adults weren't," Lacey said. Regardless, she said the company doesn't wish it could turn back time and erase Pepsi Blue. "We have no regrets and consumers give us high marks for trying," Lacey said.