Why Crystal Pepsi Flopped

In the early 1990s, PepsiCo introduced a clear cola called Crystal Pepsi, which was meant to capitalize on the trend of healthier, "purer" drinks. However, it was discontinued just a few years later in 1994, marking one of the most spectacular product failures in the history of the soft drink industry. There are several reasons why Crystal Pepsi flopped and was discontinued, which we will explore in this article.


Firstly, the taste of Crystal Pepsi was not well-received by consumers. 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.

Secondly, PepsiCo's marketing strategy for Crystal Pepsi was not effective. The company invested heavily in advertising campaigns that emphasized the drink's purity and clearness, but failed to effectively communicate its taste and benefits to consumers. Additionally, PepsiCo launched Crystal Pepsi with a massive marketing blitz, but failed to sustain that momentum with subsequent campaigns.

Crystal Pepsi was launched during a crowded market for soft drinks, which made it difficult to stand out among competitors. At the time, Coca-Cola had just introduced its own clear cola called Tab Clear, which was also a failure. Moreover, the 1990s were marked by the rise of energy drinks and bottled water, which distracted consumers from traditional colas.


The pricing of Crystal Pepsi was an issue. PepsiCo marketed the drink as a premium product, charging a higher price than regular colas. However, consumers were not willing to pay more for a beverage that did not offer any significant benefits over existing products.

Lastly, the packaging of Crystal Pepsi may have contributed to its failure. The clear bottle was innovative and eye-catching, but it also made the drink vulnerable to light damage. Exposure to light could alter the taste of the drink and make it unpalatable, which may have contributed to consumer dissatisfaction and lack of repeat purchases.

In conclusion, the failure of Crystal Pepsi was the result of a combination of factors, including its taste, marketing strategy, competition, pricing, and packaging. Despite being an innovative product that attempted to capitalize on a trend towards healthier and purer drinks, it ultimately failed to connect with consumers and was discontinued just a few years after its launch.