In their endless quest to topple rival Coca-Cola, Pepsi’s 1992 product launch was their most transparent attempt yet.
The vaguely citrus-flavored Crystal Pepsi was colorless, a novelty trend that had spread to other areas of grocery aisles. But Pepsi’s marketing was spotty, failing to convince consumers why they should bother. The drink disappeared in 1993.
Now the company is betting on another trend—nostalgia—to help revitalize the brand. Beginning this week, 20-ounce bottles of Crystal Pepsi will be available for an eight-week window. (Canadians got it a month early on July 7).
“Pepsi is all about pop culture and few things are as hot right now in pop culture as the 1990s,” Linda Lagos, director of marketing for Pepsi, told Ad Age in July. To help stir interest, Pepsi will be offering an online game, The Crystal Pepsi Trail, that spoofs the infamousOregon Trail frontier computer game that was a staple of school computer rooms in the 1990s.
The campaign was motivated in part by a successful sweepstakes offer last December that had Pepsi giving away 13,000 six-packs of Crystal Pepsi to winners. According to the company, the $1.79 drink should be available at most leading retailers. If you happen to live in New York City, you can also catch a ’90s-themed launch party at Terminal 5: Biz Markie, Lisa Loeb, and Salt n Pepa are among the performers. And while you’re welcome to start a petition, Coke II is probably not coming back.