Pepsi Max = Diet Cola for Men?

27 01 2009

So, apparently, Pepsi is using one of the Super Bowl commercials to make a big push for Pepsi Max.  They’re branding it as “The first diet cola for men.” 

New ads that reposition Pepsi Max as the diet cola for men also will likely be a part of the Super Bowl. Execs debuted 30- and 15-second “I’m good” spots. The ads show men getting hurt — hit with a golf club or electrocuted, for example — and then saying “I’m good.” A voice-over at the end of the spot says, “Men can take anything except the taste of diet cola — until now. Pepsi Max the first diet cola for men.”

OK, here’s my problem with that.  Coke Zero has been out for a few years.  I am a lifelong Pepsi drinker.  I crave the crap.  J always thought it was the caffeine I crave, but it’s not.  It’s Pepsi.  It’s the sugar…it’s the taste.  I’ve gotten myself to a can every other day as long as we don’t eat out.  I don’t keep it in the house anymore.  The way I’ve gotten off Pepsi is by drinking Coke Zero.  It’s zero calorie and tastes enough like Coke that I learned to put up with it.

This weekend, we stopped in Howell to get gas.  I went in the store to get something to drink.  I was going to grab a Pepsi, but I stopped mid-reach when I saw Pepsi Max.  I had been wondering if Pepsi Max was going to be as close to Pepsi as Coke Zero was to Coke.  I took one drink and damn near threw it out the window.  It was awful.  It tasted exactly like a diet pop.  Even worse, J said it tasted worse than Diet Pepsi which she actually prefers over Diet Coke. 

Pepsi Max has been around since 1993 in the UK.  Pepsi Co wasn’t able to introduce the product in the US because of the ingredient acesulfame potassium hadn’t been approved by the FDA.   The drink is incredibly popular overseas outselling Pepsi in some countries.  In 2007, the drink was finally introduced in the US as Diet Pepsi Max, but it wasn’t the drink that was so popular overseas.  They reformulated it for the US launch. 

I love Pepsi.  Until recently, I had been a loyal Pepsi drinker and I still prefer it over Coke, but after tasting Pepsi Max, this ad campaign almost pisses me off.  All I read is Pepsi Max is the first diet cola for men because women who already drink Diet Pepsi won’t drink it.  I hope, someday, they come up with something that tastes as good as Pepsi does…..Pepsi Max isn’t it.