Pepsi Puts On A New Product Innovation Show For Investors

by , Oct 24, 2006, 5:00 AM
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PepsiCo will treat the packaging of its flagship Pepsi Cola like a media play next year, and has 35 variations planned to rotate every few weeks.

Dawn Hudson, chief executive of Pepsi-Cola North America, described the "choreography" packaging yesterday at a day-long meeting for investors, in which senior company executives discussed key initiatives for the coming year and unveiled a flurry of new products, many of them carrying a distinct "health and wellness" positioning. Hudson said Pepsi wants to focus more on product innovation and creating consumer demand, while backing away from price promotion.

The new Pepsi packaging is designed to appeal to the lifestyle of the Millennials, Hudson said, and will focus on themes relating to sports, music, car culture, fashion and causes. It will play out on everything from 12-ounce cans to 2-liter bottles to fountain cups. A Web address will lead to online-only content from Pepsi complementing these various themes, allowing the consumers to connect the drink to their lives in some way. Hudson also broadcast clips from upcoming "Feel the Pepsi" brand advertising.

John Compton, CEO of PepsiCo North America, described the various products unveiled yesterday as "the strongest lineup of brand innovation we have ever had at Pepsi."

This includes the introduction of a new category of "enhanced sparkling beverages" allowing consumers to partake in "the bubbles they love in a healthier way," said Hudson.

Aimed at Boomers, the new Tava line is a caffeine-free vitamin-infused carbonated drink containing chromium, a mineral some have linked to boosting a person's metabolism and enhancing weight loss. Tava flavors will include Caribbean Calypso.

Chuck Maniscalco, CEO of Quaker, Tropicana, and Gatorade, said the "big idea" in the Tropicana category will be Tropicana Pure, a "simple luxury" juice drink that will come in a unique clear bottle and be merchandised in the produce section. Other new Tropicana products coming next year include Tropicana Healthy Heart, which will contain Omega-3.

Gatorade, meanwhile, will introduce a Gatorade AM line with lighter flavors such as tropical mango, orange-strawberry and cran-raspberry, designed to appeal to fitness buffs who need to hydrate before their morning workouts.

Propel fitness water will be available for the first time as a powder pack, allowing any "point of sweat" to become a brand opportunity simply by pouring the powder into a 20-ounce bottle of water, Maniscalco said.

Green tea versions will be added to existing product lines such as Brisk, while Lipton Green Tea will introduce new 1.5-liter bottles based on consumer demand. In a joint bottling arrangement with Ocean Spray Cranberries, a new line of Ocean Spray Refreshers will also be introduced, Hudson said.

Anyone listening in on the conference could be excused at times for thinking they had stumbled upon a health food convention. Senior executives from every company region and division recited the "health and wellness" mantra, whether it was describing new methods for artificial sweetening or new processing methods for Frito-Lay snack foods.

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