So let's get this right out of the way… Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze is pretty good. In fact, I find it better than regular Sierra Mist. Since it's a summer-only beverage, you might want to check it out before it's gone for good.
Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze just sort of showed up in the marketplace. There didn't seem to be an official announcement months in advance talking about the drink. Advanced buzz seemed to be pretty small.
But that seems to be the trend we've seen with Sierra Mist spin-offs, starting with last winter's Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash. I believe that limited-time drink was pretty well received. Perhaps that opened the door for other versions of Sierra Mist, such as what we have now with Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze.
What was odd about this drink is what they attempted to do with the flavor. After all, Sierra Mist is already a lemon-lime soda… and you are going to make it MORE lemony? But that apparently is what the folks at Pepsi decided to do.
Of course, this might also bring to mind the "Lemon Wars" between Coke and Pepsi, fought with Diet Coke with Lemon and Pepsi Twist, both now discontinued. Fortunately for Lemon Squeeze, this drink doesn't taste like you sprayed a bottle of Pledge down your throat!
One might question the direction of the packaging, however. The labeling of Lemon Squeeze too closely resembles that of the flagship Sierra Mist, in my opinion. I'm going to guess that this is going to cause some problems in the marketplace. When your color scheme already has a lot of yellow and green in it, it's rather hard to emphasize even MORE yellow. Perhaps they should have gone with emphasizing the blue in the color instead. I think that would have helped clearly delineate the packaging over the summer.
Upon opening the bottle, the bouquet from the beverage was similar to 7Up… the old 7Up, before it changed to a "all natural except for the high fructose corn syrup" formula. It was pleasant overall.
Then there was the moment where you actually drink Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze. And as I mentioned earlier, it tastes pretty good. It's less harsh or bitter when compared to regular Sierra Mist. In fact, the additional lemon flavor makes it much smoother, not quite like lemonade, but along those lines. The flavor itself was much like older versions of 7Up, but obviously with a higher concentration of lemon flavor. It was closer to 7Up than Sprite, that's for sure. While I doubt a reformulation of Sierra Mist is in the works, one wonders if this is a good way to test what people think about a lemon-lime drink with a stronger emphasis on the lemon side of things.
Shortly after I first found this drink at our local Walgreen's, I came across an advertising sign at a nearby gas station. And once I looked at it, I saw what direction they were taking this beverage. It's a "summer drink" and you should "squeeze as much as you can out of summer", etc. So that's the angle!
Taking a closer look at the advertisement, I noted a website address at the bottom: xsqueezeme.com. Interesting choice, and way to pick up on an old catchphrase. Although whenever I hear someone say "exsqueeze me", for some reason I think of the really poor dialect used by Jar Jar Binks in that trainwreck known as Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.
I'm assuming the marketing campaign for this drink is just getting off the ground if this stuff is starting to show up now. But I wonder how well the public is going to accept this drink with what seems like very little buzz. The folks at Pepsi maybe be putting too much emphasis on grassroots word-of-mouth on this. I hope I'm wrong. After all, they have another summer-only drink available right now (Pepsi Summer Mix).
With that said, I hopped over to the advertised website to see what was available there. While it looks like the offerings will grow over the coming months, there's some interesting things to play with. The marketing angle seems to be revolving around the idea that in order to squeeze as much into your summer as possible, you need to figure out how to get out of work.
For example, if you use the "Send to a Friend" option, an e-mail is dispatched that pretty much explains the mindset:
SUBJECT: Lighten up and enjoy summer with Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze!
So, I was at work the other day, looking longingly out the window and wishing I could be anywhere but stuck in a cubicle with the beautiful weather outside.
And guess what? Now I'm not!
Guess why? Because of Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze. Sounds crazy, I know, but it's this new, deliciously refreshing drink with an extra squeeze of lemon taste and it's only around this summer.
And when I went to xsqueezeme.com, there were all these cool tricks and tips to get me out of work and other boring responsibilities and "squeeze" more out of my summer! I was so excited that I immediately tried out one tip called "The Save – and it worked!
So. As I sit by the pool basking in the sun, I just wanted to drop you an email to tell you all about xsqueezeme.com. And maybe you can meet me here. I saved you a lawn chair. And a Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze.
See ya soon,
From what is explained on the website, there will be a bunch of video-oriented features added over time, seemingly focused around this main character named Owen. He's based in an office cubicle farm… and is always trying to find a way to get out of doing work. There are a couple of introductory videos that explain this concept.
The site then goes into a pitch for 4 "applications" that it is offering to help you in your quest to better enjoy Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze.
The first is called The Save. It's your classic "enter a phone number online and it will be dialed with a message later" tool. It's designed to pull you into a phone call if you need to be yanked out of an annoying situation.
Next up is Doctor's Note, which provides a couple of downloadable PDF files where you can write-in your own excuse to get out of work. For example:
Third on the "apps" list is Rapid Keys, which is nothing more than a downloadable MP3 with the sound of typing. Fool your boss into thinking you are actually typing a whole lot!
Finally, there's a screensaver called Technical Difficulties, which is basically just a bunch of gibberish to emulate the look-and-feel of your computer in a crashed state. (Probably not ideal for Mac users!)
The site wraps up with the ability to post on a "Message Board", but probably not one in the true sense. It's really more of a "submit how much you like this beverage" quote-fest, and messages don't go live right away. Cap it off with the nutritional/product information and that's pretty much what you'll find at the marketing site for Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze.
Having tasted the beverage before the knowledge of the marketing rollout, I'm skeptical. The beverage is good. The ad campaign doesn't seem so hot, however. I would hate for this decent soft drink to fail because some promotional folks couldn't come up with an attractive way to market it.
I guess we'll have to see what happens. In the meantime, I'd encourage you to give Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze a try. It's light, crisp, caffeine free, and lemony good!
As they say via a cheesy song on the website, "Work's a breeze with Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze!"