Earlier this week PepsiCo starting pouring money into their latest brand launch — Diet Pepsi Max. As much as $55 million will be spent launching this brand geared to men 25 to 34 who like the buzz of drinks like Mountain Dew, but are starting to become concerned about their weight.
Targeted to desk jockeys battling the midday blahs, it’s being positioned as a diet energy drink to rouse men out of the 2pm slump. Their goal is to try and achieve a share of 3% to 5%, which would be pretty impressive if they can do it — but I would think that’s going to be an uphill battle. As far as I know, no one in the cola category has cracked the code on how to really appeal to men with diet drinks.
It seems like a tough challenge on two fronts — the concept of a diet soda to men and against other well-established, entrenched energy drinks. But at least PepsiCo is putting some big bucks behind it.
Pepsi’s challenge is unlike the pretty easy and logical product extension Coke did with Diet Coke Plus (calorie-free with added vitamins and minerals) in March. In that case, the prevailing mindset of the female drinker is “I’m already drinking a ton Diet Coke every day anyway, I might as well get something out of it.”
Whereas Diet Coke Plus could cannibalize a good share of Diet Coke business, it’s less likely Diet Pepsi Max, if they manage to truly resonate with men, will cannibalize the traditional Diet Pepsi share (which I would assume is also largely female).
I bought one tonight and to me…it tastes like Diet Pepsi and didn’t do much for me. But given that I drink at least one pot of coffee every morning and almost always have a glass of ice tea at hand after noon, I’d suspect I have a constant caffeine high anyway and wouldn’t notice any uptick.