PepsiCo tells BeverageDaily.com that it seeks partnerships with ‘relevant and attainable designers’ who keep the focus on the Diet Pepsi brand rather than overshadow it.
The comments perhaps also serve as a differentiating nod towards Diet Coke – given the recent brouhaha surrounding the latter’s 2013 tie-ups with iconic fashion designer Marc Jacobs, as well as Jean-Paul Gaultier (2012) and Karl Lagerfeld (see bottles below) in (2011)
“Diet Pepsi feels it’s incredibly important to tap personalities who are not only relevant and attainable for our consumers, but who also keep the focus on the product versus overshadowing it,” a spokeswoman said BeverageDaily.com today.
We suggested to PepsiCo last week that its main rival (The Coca-Cola Company) had been more active in terms of new design-inspired bottle and can designs for Diet Coke in recent years, a fair inference given the lack of Diet Pepsi ad dollars spent from 2008 to 2010.
Key passion points
So were designer cans or other packages – such as the recently released 7.5oz can from Vern Yip – a trend that we could expect to see continue, and even now accelerate with the Diet Pepsi brand, given PepsiCo’s much touted big M&A push behind its major brands?
The spokeswoman did not answer this question directly, but did say that the new cans (pictured right) designed by HGTV Design Star judge and interior designer Vern Yip, continued the Diet Pepsi brand strategy of “partnering with attainable designers”.
The 7.5oz cans had been on the market for some time now, she added, with the Vern Yip partnership serving to maintain momentum in Diet Pepsi´s 'Love Every Sip’ campaign, launched earlier this year.
Diet Pepsi actively sought out partners to “align with the key passion points of its consumer base, particularly within the home and design space,” the spokeswoman said.
‘Something of a climbdown?’
She added that Diet Pepsi worked with Jonathan Adler in 2012, who created “fun, patterned straws to accessorize Diet Pepsi”.
She also rejected suggestions made by US website Business Insider that Diet Pepsi is repositioning itself to target the female market alone, after director of marketing Amy Spradakis told Adweek the 7.5oz cans were “targeted at women who love home design”.
Business Insider suggested that these words represented “something of a climbdown” for PepsiCo over Diet Pepsi, but one that could serve to refocus the brand on females to boost flagging sales, while reducing crossovers with regular Pepsi given its more ‘macho’ image.
But a PepsiCo spokeswoman simply told BeverageDaily.com today: “Amy Spiridakis did not make that comment.”
Alongside the increased Diet Pepsi M&A spend from 2011, PepsiCo also quietly re-launched Diet Pepsi with a tweaked sweetening system this year, adding acesulfame-K to traditional (sole) sweetener aspartame, reportedly to prevent taste degradation .