If you don’t remember the song “Whoomp! ( There It Is),” you’re not likely to remember Crystal Pepsi. But for those who do remember the uncolored caffeine-free cola that flashed across the cultural landscape in the early Nineties—and liked it—Thursday and Friday offer a chance for a nostalgic trip down carbonated-soft-drink-memory lane.
As hinted last summer, Pepsi is bringing back Crystal Pepsi, at least to give away 13,000 cases of 16-ounce bottles to US fans who enter a contest via the Pepsi Pass mobile rewards app on those two days.
“We have a lot of fans and they’re really enthusiastic and they’ve been asking for Crystal to come back for a long time,” said Linda Lagos, marketing director for the Pepsi brand. “We thought it would be special to bring a holiday treat to our fans.”
— Pepsi™ (@pepsi) December 9, 2015
Social media pressure (hashtag: #BBCP for “Bring Back Crystal Pepsi”) has helped bring back Crystal (this time with caffeine), which may be limited to this contest, though Pepsi hasn’t said. YouTube celebrity and competitive eater Kevin Strahle (aka L.A. Beast) led a social media movement behind bringing the product back.
— Pepsi™ (@pepsi) December 8, 2015
Pepsi’s mini-campaign around Crystal Pepsi’s return also includes a nearly three-minute flashback video featuring a mythical 92nd floor at Pepsi headquarters that served as sort of a time machine for the Crystal brand team. It was “never shut down,” Pepsi said on Twitter, “and 23 years later,” Crystal’s prolongers are ready to bring the drink back to share “with the world.”
Behind the novelty of a cola that wasn’t brown-colored and contained no caffeine, Pepsi introduced Crystal in 1992, and the product starred in a 1993 Super Bowl commercial. But blessed with little demand, it was pulled in 1994 and basically unheard of since then. Until L.A. Beast spearheaded a comeback.
Besides the social media lobbying for Crystal’s return, Pepsi on-trend in reviving carbonated soft drinks to appeal to baby boomers and woo millennials and Gen Z. Its recent Pepsi Perfect limited time launch wooed Back to the Future fans, while Coca-Cola last year brought back Surge, a jolty citrus-tasting drink that it brought to Amazon, and some grocery store aisles.
And Pepsi just announced it is returning Mtn Dew Pitch Black, a darkly colored line extension that it originally sold for a limited time in each of four years, with its last appearance coming in 2011.