Pepsi Max competes for zero-cal positioning

PURCHASE, NY: In a new communications campaign pitting Pepsi Max against Coke Zero, PepsiCo is shifting the product's key message point from flavor to zero calorie.

PURCHASE, NY: In a new communications campaign pitting Pepsi Max against Coke Zero, PepsiCo is shifting the product's key message point from flavor to zero calorie.

The effort targets a broad audience, the majority being men, via the resurgence of a 1995 Super Bowl ad, social media, sampling, media relations, and sports partnerships.

A source familiar with the campaign said the budget for PR and social media is in the mid-six-figure range.

“Research on consumers showed people loved the taste of Pepsi Max but some didn't know it was a zero-calorie beverage. And obviously consumer trends are moving toward a zero-calorie emphasis, so it was a combination of [reasons],” said Peter Land, SVP for PepsiCo Americas Beverages.   

Today, the company kicked off the campaign with the ad remake featuring the original imagery of Coke and Pepsi truck drivers who favor the Pepsi flavor. In the updated version, a Pepsi Max driver whips out his phone to "YouTube" a Coke Zero driver drinking Pepsi Max.

“We wanted to squarely take on the competition with the campaign,” said Land. “We said what if we take a concept from earlier and update it with a 2010 sensibility so it has legs in social and digital media?”

The campaign team, including Edelman, which is handling PR and social media, posted the commercial on YouTube and over the next few weeks plans to develop a related Facebook program.

“The humor of the spot lends itself to shared media and syndication,” said Land.

The product and messaging will also be featured at select Nascar, MLB, and NFL events.

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