Why Did Crystal Pepsi Fail? (2023)

Why Did Crystal Pepsi Fail? (1)

Crystal Pepsi, the clear soda that was introduced in the early 1990s, was a bold attempt to revolutionize the soda industry. However, it failed miserably, and its production was discontinued in less than two years. The question remains, why did Crystal Pepsi fail? Was it due to the taste, the marketing strategy, or something else entirely? In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind the flop of this iconic soda and explore the lessons that can be learned from its failure.

Why did Crystal Pepsi fail? Crystal Pepsi was launched in the early 1990s as a clear cola with a unique taste. Despite a massive marketing campaign and initial popularity, the product failed to sustain its success in the market. There were several reasons for its failure, including its high price, confusing marketing, and lack of differentiation from traditional colas. Additionally, customers found its taste to be underwhelming, and the brand failed to build a loyal following. As a result, Crystal Pepsi was eventually discontinued in 1993.

Why Did Crystal Pepsi Fail? (2)

(Video) Why Crystal Pepsi Was A Total Flop

Why Did Crystal Pepsi Fail?

Crystal Pepsi, a clear cola soft drink, was introduced by PepsiCo in 1992. The product was marketed as a caffeine-free alternative to traditional cola drinks, with a unique “crystal-clear” appearance. Despite a significant initial buzz and strong marketing campaign, Crystal Pepsi failed to capture the market and was eventually discontinued in 1993. So, what caused this product to fail? Let’s take a closer look.

Poor Marketing Strategy

One of the primary reasons for the failure of Crystal Pepsi was the poor marketing strategy. PepsiCo failed to identify the target audience for the product and did not position it effectively. The company focused on the novelty of the clear cola and failed to communicate its benefits and unique features to the consumers. The marketing campaign also lacked a clear message, which made it difficult for the consumers to connect with the product.

Another issue was that PepsiCo did not invest enough in advertising the product. The company relied heavily on a single commercial featuring Van Halen’s “Right Now” song, which failed to generate enough buzz and excitement among the consumers.

Inability to Differentiate from Regular Cola

Crystal Pepsi failed to differentiate itself from regular cola drinks. The product was marketed as a “clear” cola, but it did not offer any significant difference in taste or flavor compared to traditional cola drinks. Consumers failed to see the value in paying a premium price for a product that did not offer any significant benefits over the regular cola drinks.

Benefits of Regular Cola vs. Crystal Pepsi

Regular ColaCrystal Pepsi
Classic FlavorNo significant difference in taste
Lower PricePremium Price

Market Saturation

The market for soft drinks was already saturated in the 1990s, with a plethora of options available for consumers. The introduction of Crystal Pepsi failed to generate any significant demand as consumers had already established their preference for traditional cola drinks. Additionally, the product faced stiff competition from Coca-Cola, which had a dominant market share in the cola segment.

Brand Perception

PepsiCo’s brand perception played a significant role in the failure of Crystal Pepsi. The company had already established itself as a leader in the cola segment, and consumers associated Pepsi with the classic cola flavor. The introduction of a clear cola drink was a departure from the traditional cola drink, which made it difficult for consumers to associate the product with the Pepsi brand.

Brand Perception of PepsiCo

  • Leader in Cola Segment
  • Classic Cola Flavor
  • Brand Association with Traditional Cola Drinks


In conclusion, the failure of Crystal Pepsi can be attributed to a combination of poor marketing strategy, inability to differentiate from regular cola drinks, market saturation, and brand perception. The product failed to generate enough demand and was eventually discontinued in 1993. However, the failure of Crystal Pepsi taught a valuable lesson to PepsiCo about the importance of effective marketing strategies and understanding consumer preferences.

(Video) THIS is why Crystal Pepsi flopped

Frequently Asked Questions

Crystal Pepsi was a clear cola beverage that was introduced by PepsiCo in the early 1990s. Despite the initial hype around the product, it ultimately failed to gain a foothold in the soft drink market. Here are five questions and answers about why Crystal Pepsi failed.

1. What was the main reason for Crystal Pepsi’s failure?

One of the main reasons for Crystal Pepsi’s failure was its taste. Despite being marketed as a “clear, clean, caffeine-free” alternative to traditional colas, many consumers found the taste to be unusual and unappealing. PepsiCo also struggled to differentiate Crystal Pepsi from its other cola products, leading to confusion among consumers about why they should choose it over traditional Pepsi or other soft drinks.

Another contributing factor was the timing of the launch. Crystal Pepsi was introduced during a period of intense competition in the soft drink market, with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo both vying for market share. The failure of Crystal Pepsi suggested that consumers were not interested in new, innovative products at the time, but rather preferred the familiar taste of traditional colas.

2. How did PepsiCo market Crystal Pepsi?

PepsiCo spent over $40 million on marketing and advertising for Crystal Pepsi, positioning it as a “clear alternative” to traditional colas. The company also ran a high-profile Super Bowl commercial featuring Van Halen’s “Right Now” and focused on the product’s unique appearance and caffeine-free formula.

However, the marketing campaign ultimately failed to resonate with consumers, who were confused about the product’s positioning and skeptical of its taste.

3. Were there any other factors that contributed to Crystal Pepsi’s failure?

Yes, there were several other factors that contributed to Crystal Pepsi’s failure. For one, the product was more expensive to produce than traditional colas, which made it difficult for PepsiCo to price it competitively. Additionally, the clear packaging of the product made it more vulnerable to light and temperature changes, which affected its taste and quality.

Finally, the timing of the launch may have also played a role in the product’s failure. Crystal Pepsi was introduced during a period of economic uncertainty and consumer caution, which may have made consumers less likely to experiment with new products.

(Video) Crystal Pepsi Vs. Tab Clear | Why Crystal Pepsi Failed

4. Did PepsiCo make any attempts to revive Crystal Pepsi?

Yes, PepsiCo made several attempts to revive Crystal Pepsi over the years. In 2015, the company launched a limited edition “throwback” version of the product, which was sold exclusively on Amazon. The product sold out within hours, suggesting that there was still some interest in Crystal Pepsi among consumers.

However, subsequent attempts to revive the product have been less successful. In 2016, PepsiCo launched a marketing campaign featuring actor David Faustino, but sales of the product were disappointing.

5. What lessons can be learned from the failure of Crystal Pepsi?

The failure of Crystal Pepsi highlights the importance of understanding consumer preferences and tastes, as well as the need to differentiate new products from existing offerings. It also underscores the risks of launching a new product during a period of intense competition and economic uncertainty.

Ultimately, the failure of Crystal Pepsi serves as a cautionary tale for companies looking to innovate in the soft drink market, emphasizing the need for careful planning, research, and execution in order to succeed.

Why Did Crystal Pepsi Fail? (3)

Why Crystal Pepsi Was A Total Flop

In conclusion, the failure of Crystal Pepsi can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the timing of its release was not ideal, as consumers were not yet ready for a clear cola. Secondly, the marketing campaign did not effectively communicate the product’s unique selling point. Lastly, the taste of Crystal Pepsi was not significantly different from regular Pepsi, leading to consumer confusion and lack of interest.

(Video) Food Theory: Coke's SECRET Plot To Kill Crystal Pepsi!

Despite its failure, Crystal Pepsi serves as a cautionary tale for companies looking to introduce new and innovative products. It highlights the importance of market research, effective marketing strategies, and creating a unique and memorable product. By learning from the mistakes of Crystal Pepsi, companies can avoid similar failures and achieve success in the competitive market.

In conclusion, the failure of Crystal Pepsi was a result of a combination of factors, including poor timing, ineffective marketing, and lack of differentiation from regular Pepsi. However, it serves as a valuable lesson for companies, highlighting the importance of thorough research, effective communication, and creating a unique and memorable product. Ultimately, the success of any product depends on understanding the needs and desires of consumers and delivering a product that meets those needs.

Why Did Crystal Pepsi Fail? (4)

More Posts

(Video) What happened to Crystal Pepsi? | The worst commercial flop ever | Quick History EP1


Why Did Crystal Pepsi Fail? ›

Despite being marketed as a healthier, less sweet alternative to traditional colas, many people found its flavor to be too bland and lacking in depth. Crystal Pepsi also lacked the caramel color and other ingredients that give regular colas their signature taste, which may have contributed to its lack of popularity.

What was the prime marketing failure of Crystal Pepsi? ›

The marketing slogan for Crystal Pepsi was "You have never seen a taste like this." But they didn't realize that its colorless look would be the main problem. Although initial sales were promising, consumers were not satisfied with the taste.

What was Coke's answer to Crystal Pepsi? ›

Crystal Pepsi was launched nationwide in the US on December 14, 1992. In its first year, it captured one full percentage point of U.S. soft drink sales, or approximately US$474 million (equivalent to $960 million in 2022). Coca-Cola followed by launching Tab Clear on December 14, 1992.

Was Crystal Pepsi a success? ›

Crystal Pepsi was supposed to become a billion-dollar idea. Instead, it wound up a colossal failure. Starting with a smashingly successful Superbowl commercial featuring Van Halen, Crystal Pepsi debuted with much fanfare. Less than a year after it hit store shelves, the soft drink was pulled from circulation.

What happened to Crystal Clear Pepsi? ›

The caffeine-free drink originally hit U.S. store shelves in 1992 and was discontinued in 1994. But the soft drink has had somewhat of a loyal following over the years, so much so that PepsiCo has done limited re-releases in the past.

Why did the Pepsi campaign fail? ›

Prioritising market research

For Fern Miller, chief strategy officer at DigitasLBi, Pepsi failed because it didn't reach out to protest groups. “Corporations like PepsiCo need to over-index in how much they worry about the outside world perceiving them yet somehow there's stil a sense of tunnel vision,” she explains.

What was the main reason why the Pepsi Refresh project was considered unsuccessful? ›

Though this project allowed company to understand their consumers and attract them to websites, they had a declining market share and falling to third place behind Coke and Diet Coke. As a brand, this campaign didn't help Pepsi.

Did Crystal Pepsi taste like regular Pepsi? ›

Crystal Pepsi had a flavor similar to regular Pepsi, only it was made with the absence of caramel color which some said made the drink less "acidic" tasting. "You've never seen a taste like this," Pepsi boasted at the time.

Will Crystal Pepsi come back 2023? ›

Crystal Pepsi is making a comeback for 2022. The clear-coloured cola drink was originally launched in 1992 – and Pepsi is bringing it back for a limited time in honour of its 30th anniversary.

Why did Pepsi bring back Crystal Pepsi? ›

Pepsi pointed to the super-wide JNCO jeans, which are popular once again, and other trendy '90s items, including Tamagotchies, scrunchies and bucket hats, as the reason it's bringing back Crystal Pepsi. Big brands have been tapping into nostalgia lately as a way to drum up attention and entice younger buyers.

What beat Crystal Pepsi? ›

Sergio Zyman was the marketing chief of Coca-Cola at the time. He was responsible for creating Tab Clear with the sole intention to kill Crystal Pepsi. The product was never designed to last or survive. Tab Clear was made to confuse consumers by being a bad version of Crystal Pepsi.

Who was Crystal Pepsi rival? ›

Competition. After PepsiCo's introduction of Crystal Pepsi in mid-1992, Coca-Cola decided to follow suit with its own clear cola, Tab Clear, at the end of the year. In late December 1992, Coca-Cola Co.

Is Crystal Pepsi better than regular Pepsi? ›

Its lighter taste is seen as the result of the lack of caffeine and sugar. People consider Crystal Soda as the healthier option than regular Pepsi. Crystal Pepsi has only a 250 calorie count per serving with less sodium and 0% fat.

Why did 7 Up Gold fail? ›

Not long after its release, unfortunately, 7 Up Gold was later discontinued in 1989 speculating of its lack of caffeine as an ingredient and as well as the color.

Is it safe to drink 20 year old Pepsi? ›

The short answer is: Yes, It's perfectly safe to drink expired regular soda. All sodas will come with a best-by date but that relates to the quality of the soa, they are still safe to drink beyond the date on the label.

Was there ever a clear Coke? ›

Coca-Cola Clear is a colorless variant of the soft drink Coca-Cola. Without the normal caramel ingredient, Coca-Cola Clear has none of the typical dark Coke color. The drink is lemon-flavored to compensate for the removed caramel.

What was Pepsi biggest scandal? ›

Theoretically, these bottle caps were cumulatively worth US$32 billion. Thousands of Filipinos rushed to Pepsi bottling plants to claim their prizes. PCPPI initially responded that the erroneously printed bottle caps did not have the confirmation security code, and therefore could not be redeemed.

Did Pepsi ever outsell Coke? ›

By 1983, Pepsi was outselling Coke in supermarkets, leaving Coke dependent on its larger infrastructure of soda machines and fast food tie-ins to preserve its lead. That was a success in its own right. But even better, Pepsi forced Coke into an infamous business blunder.

What is the failed product of Pepsi? ›

Crystal Pepsi was poised to become a billion-dollar idea. Instead, it was a colossal flop. Less than a year after the commercial hit the airwaves, the soda was yanked from the shelves. It became a cultural laughingstock and was later dubbed one of the biggest product failures of all time by TIME Magazine.

What was Pepsi mistake in China? ›

In China, the slogan was mistranslated to mean 'Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave', and in a culture where they worship their ancestors, people thought that if you drank Pepsi it could bring back the dead.

What happened in the Pepsi Challenge? ›

Half of the participants said they preferred Pepsi, his team found that a brain region called ventral putamen, associated with seeking reward, was active when people drank their favorite drink. However things changed when consumers were told what they were drinking, the ratio shifted to 3:1 in favor of coke.

What happened to the Pepsi lawsuit? ›

In the end, Leonard lost the "Pepsi Points Case" after the court, presided over by Judge Kimba Wood, determined that the case didn't have merit because "no objective person could reasonably have concluded that the commercial actually offered consumers a Harrier jet."

Did Pepsi give away a jet? ›

Leonard sent a check for $700,008.50 (including $10 for shipping and handling), and 15 labels, per promotion rules. The offer was refused by Pepsi, who referred to the promotion of the Harrier jet in the commercial as "fanciful" and stated its intention was to create a "humorous and entertaining ad".

What did Pepsi Blue taste like? ›

It was designed to attract teenage consumers with its bright blue color and unique flavor. The flavor was described by Pepsi only as "berry" and described by customers as similar to blueberries or raspberries, or similar to cotton candy with a berry-like aftertaste and much more sugary and syrupy than regular cola.

Is there a clear soda with caffeine? ›

Club Clear Caffeinated Club Soda, 12 fl oz - Kroger.

Will Mango Pepsi come back? ›

Pepsi is bringing back its Pepsi Mango. The drink was previously a limited-time offering during spring, but it will now be available as a permanent fixture — the first time Pepsi made a permanent fixture in five years.

Is Pepsi Blue coming back? ›

The rumors are true: Pepsi Blue is coming back. For the first time since 2004, the bright blue beverage will be available in the U.S., the company announced Thursday. Pepsi Blue will be in stores nationwide by May 3, according to an email from Pepsi.

What is the new Pepsi flavor 2023? ›

Pepsi Peeps Soda (10 pack) - Marshmallow Flavored - Limited 2023 Edition - Collector's Items - 10, 7.5oz Cans.

Why does Crystal Pepsi taste better? ›

The lack of brown sugar and caffeine also gives Crystal Pepsi a distinct taste over the regular version. This makes the drink less sweet than the regular Pepsi cola.

What is the flavor of the clear Pepsi? ›

Unlike the usual brown color of Pepsi drinks, Crystal Pepsi is transparent and colorless. It has a softer taste with a hint of lemon.

How much did Crystal Pepsi cost? ›

So, how much will Crystal Pepsi cost, and will the price also be a throwback? According to PepsiCo, this serving of '90s nostalgia will be sold at a suggested retail price of $1.79.

Why does Pepsi taste different? ›

Phosphoric acid is less tart and acidic than citric acid, which gives Coca-Cola a less sharp taste. This is why Coca-Cola is described as having more of a vanilla flavor. Pepsi, on the other hand, has a higher amount of citric acid than Coca-Cola which gives it more of a citrusy and tart flavor.

Who won the Coke Pepsi challenge? ›

Pepsi went inside malls around the country and invited people to do a blind taste test between Coke and Pepsi. The results were remarkable; people picked Pepsi over Coke by a significant margin. Pepsi happily touted the results in a TV campaign showing people, much to their own surprise, picking Pepsi.

How much sugar does Crystal Pepsi have? ›

17.5 tsp of sugars per serving!

Who is the biggest competitor of Pepsi? ›

PepsiCo's competitors
  • Conagra Brands.
  • Kellogg.
  • Danone.
  • Red Bull.
  • Mondelez International.
  • Monster Beverage.
  • Nestle.
  • Keurig Dr Pepper.

What is on Doctor Pepper? ›

Carbonated Water, Sugar, Colour (Caramel E150d), Phosphoric Acid, Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Flavourings Including Caffeine, Sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame K). Contains a Source of Phenylalanine.

Is Pepsi the healthiest soda? ›

Pepsi ranks higher in the unhealthiest drink category than Coke because it contains more sugar and calories. A 12 oz. Pepsi provides 150 calories, 41 g of sugars, and 30 mg of sodium. That is not all; it is a caffeinated beverage with 38 mg/12 oz.

Which tastes better Coke or Pepsi? ›

Flavor. Ask any soda drinker the biggest difference between Coke and Pepsi, and nine times out of 10, the answer will be that Pepsi is sweeter. That's not surprising considering Pepsi has 2 more grams of sugar than Coke in a 12-ounce can (41 grams versus 39 grams).

Is Pepsi healthier that Coke? ›

Coca-Cola, nutritionally, has a touch more sodium than Pepsi, which reminds us of Topo Chico or a club soda and results in a less blatantly sweet taste. Pepsi packs more calories, sugar, and caffeine than Coke. Although they both have carbonation and sweet flavor, the taste difference is undeniable.

What was upside down 7Up? ›

Back in the Sixties, 7 UP looked around and saw that the times were in need of changing. They decided to turn the cola world upside down with their "Uncola" campaign - which featured the clear caffeine-free and light tasting soft drink in inverted cola glasses.

What drug was in the original 7Up? ›

It contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug, until 1948. It was one of a number of patent medicine products popular in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Its name was later shortened to "7 Up Lithiated Lemon Soda" before being further shortened to just "7 Up" by 1936.

Why did they put lithium in 7Up? ›

The soft drink 7Up was originally named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda" when it was formulated in 1929 because it contained lithium citrate. The beverage was a patent medicine marketed as a cure for hangover. Lithium citrate was removed from 7Up in 1948 after it was banned by the Food and Drug Administration.

Can you drink 40 year old Coke? ›

The quality and taste of expired soda may be severely impacted,” Schwan said. “Carbonated soft drinks or sodas will decrease in flavor and carbonation – they may taste awful and 'flat' if consumed long after their expiration date.”

Is it safe to drink 50 year old Coke? ›

Carbonated soft drinks or sodas are not perishable, and are safe past the date stamped on the container. Eventually flavor and carbonation will decrease.

Can an 8 year old drink Coke? ›

Regardless of the nature of the connection, experts suggest that it is a good idea to limit your child's soda consumption. Some other reasons kids should avoid drinking soft drinks: Soda is often high in empty calories and sugar, which may contribute to childhood obesity and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

What was Coke called in 1985? ›

After much testing—in which the reformulated product scored favourably—it was launched in April 1985 and became known as New Coke, though its official name was simply Coke; “new” appeared on bottles and cans. On the street it was considered a national disaster.

What is the oldest Coke? ›

Back on May 8, 1886, the world's first Coca-Cola was served at Jacobs' Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. It was the creation of Dr. John Pemberton as a tonic for common ailments. He likely had no idea what was in store for his product, the company, and an industry that would grow into the giant it is today.

What was the Coca Cola 600 called before? ›

From 1960 to 1984 the race was known as the World 600. In 1985, the race's name was changed to Coca-Cola World 600. In 1986 the name was shortened to the Coca-Cola 600, or Coke 600 which it was referred to at the time.

What is Pepsi marketing controversy? ›

Pepsi has apologized for a controversial advertisement that borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement, after a day of intense criticism from people who said it trivialized the widespread protests against the killings of black people by the police.

How was Crystal Pepsi different from regular Pepsi? ›

Crystal Pepsi had a flavor similar to regular Pepsi, only it was made with the absence of caramel color which some said made the drink less "acidic" tasting. "You've never seen a taste like this," Pepsi boasted at the time.

Why is Pepsi declining? ›

Pepsi's decline in market share is entirely a result of neglectful advertising, as Americans have long preferred the taste of Pepsi to that of Coca-Cola in blind taste tests. When put head-to-head, as of 2005, 73 out of 100 Americans preferred the taste of Pepsi.

What did Crystal Pepsi fail? ›

Despite being marketed as a healthier, less sweet alternative to traditional colas, many people found its flavor to be too bland and lacking in depth. Crystal Pepsi also lacked the caramel color and other ingredients that give regular colas their signature taste, which may have contributed to its lack of popularity.

Did the Pepsi Kid get anything? ›

Leonard sent a check for $700,008.50 (including $10 for shipping and handling), and 15 labels, per promotion rules. The offer was refused by Pepsi, who referred to the promotion of the Harrier jet in the commercial as "fanciful" and stated its intention was to create a "humorous and entertaining ad".

Did the guy who sued Pepsi win? ›

Leonard saw the spot, hired business advisers and lawyers and decided to take legal action." Public sentiment was decidedly in favor of Leonard getting his Harrier jet, but the Southern District of New York would be the decider in the end. It ruled in favor of Pepsi.

Who is winning the Cola Wars? ›

The Wall Street Journal Declares Diet Coke the Winner of the 'Cola Wars' Although Coca-Cola sales had topped Pepsi's sales for years, the two sodas were always No. 1 and 2, respectively.

Why did Coca-Cola sue Pepsi? ›

The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo have settled a trademark lawsuit over PepsiCo's Trop50 juice packaging design, which Coca-Cola had claimed was too similar to that of its Simply juice range.

What are the ethical issues of Pepsi? ›

PepsiCo prohibits all forms of bribery and corruption in our operations, and we expect our third-parties, including suppliers, service providers, agents and contractors, to do the same.


1. Why Pepsi marketing failed ? | Fall of Pepsi | digitalodd
(digital Odd)
2. The Brief History of Crystal Pepsi
(Weird History)
3. History of Crystal Pepsi - why crystal pepsi was flop
(Tour Vibes)
4. Every great leader has an 'epic fail,' says David Novak on Crystal Pepsi
(Yahoo Finance)
5. The marketing failure of Crystal Pepsi
(Zach Dowd)
6. Failed Products of all Time -- Fish Oreo, Crystal Pepsi etc
(Reality Tv)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated: 23/09/2023

Views: 6556

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.