It's no secret that standard carbonated soft drinks have been losing market share for quite a few years. Beverage Digest reported a 2.3% drop in 2007, continuing a 3 year rate of decline. The industry was last hot in the 1990s — where it saw growth — but so far the 2000s have seen nothing but bad news.
That's why you are seeing such an increased push on non-carbonated beverages, like bottle water, sports drinks, ready-to-drink teas, etc. All the big players are well aware of this situation, including the folks at Coke and Pepsi.
According to both BevNet and Beverage Digest, Pepsi is undergoing a drastic relaunching of their branding and imagery to bring some new life into their flagship brands. The most dramatic mention, according to the article, is a redesign of the "Pepsi Globe" logo, which apparently is now supposed to represent a smile.
It's also being reported that Mountain Dew will be renamed as "Mtn Dew", at least on the packaging front. Diet Pepsi Max is also being renamed simply to "Pepsi Max", which we speculated about when that drink was launched. Max is a term Pepsi uses elsewhere around the world and it may be their brand to battle the equity that Coke as built up around the term "Zero".
Sierra Mist is also slated for a redesign, but it was not specified exactly what that entailed. Gatorade will be refocused to put an emphasis on the letter "G". Also mentioned in the article was that the core Pepsi/Diet Pepsi/Pepsi Max brands will use lower-case fonts.
Does the company really think that changing the packaging will help their fortunes?
Pepsi’s Chief Marketing Officer Dave Burwick set the tone for the change at a meeting of Pepsi bottlers when he said "If we don't change quickly, we run the risk of being a footnote to history," according to Beverage Digest.
PepsiCo Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi told BD she didn't expect the changes to immediately stop the decline of Pepsi CSDs in the face of a difficult economy, but she expects the initiative to slow the decline until it eventually flattens out.
It should be interesting to see how all this rolls out and what the public reaction will be. My gut is that it won't help too much, as the core product is still the same.
In my opinion, Diet Pepsi Max has a lot of potential to really shine in this, as it finally sheds the inhibiting "Diet Pepsi" label. Pepsi needs to grab ahold of that brand — which actually isn't too bad — and really work on pushing the marketing and brand extension.