The beverage industry can be pretty competitive when it comes to launching new ideas. Every company tries to come up with revolutionary products that will become the next best thing. While some of them are brilliant, others can be gigantic flops. So, pour yourself a glass of your favorite drink and stay tuned for the Top 10 Disgusting Beverage FAILS (Part 3).
10. Pepsi Blue
While Pepsi is one of the most successful brands of soda in the world, it’s had its fair share of missteps over the years. Exhibit A: Pepsi Blue, which came out in 2002. It was only available for a period of two years, and yet, it still created a lot of controversy and some worry. This fluorescent soda – which was probably made blue as a nod to the color of the brand – looked way more like antifreeze than it did soda. It was introduced as a “berry cola fusion” that was supposed to compete with Vanilla Coke – which was released that same year. Actually, it was introduced the day before Coke released its new flavor – talk about trying to steal someone’s thunder. Right from the start, you could already see where Pepsi went wrong. Trying to make it a Pepsi versus Coke thing instead of standing on the merit of their own product. However, it is still a bit unclear why the suits at PepsiCo believed that Pepsi Blue was the right competitor for Vanilla Coke. Pepsi Blue was way more out there than the fairly ordinary vanilla tinged Coke. The company was trying to appeal to youngsters who had become bored with regular Pepsi, so they thought, why not make it bright blue and borderline toxic. The major fail with this product came from the very questionable ingredients used in the formula. It was made with the food coloring Blue No. 1, also known as “brilliant blue,” which has been banned in a number of countries due to health concerns. Taking everything into account, Pepsi Blue was bound to fail.
9. Slice Soda
Originally launched in the 1980s by Pepsi, Slice Soda was supposed to compete in the then-crowded fruit-flavored soda space. Its original form was a carbonated drink that contained a little over 10% real fruit juice – which was supposed to make the drink taste more natural. With over 15 fruit flavors – starting with orange, which was the most popular – Slice looked like it could be the next great drink on the market. However, despite its raging popularity among consumers, Slice was discontinued in the early 2000s. Why? No one really knows. Perhaps it’s because it was slightly less crisp and a lot sweeter than other sodas. Or maybe it was due to the ever growing health-consciousness of consumers. Since the amount of carbonated soft drinks sold in the U.S. is declining every year, it wouldn’t be surprising. Either way, it was gone and almost forgotten. That is, until recently, when Slice made an unexpected comeback and was completely revamped. Today, it’s more of a “sparkling water,” has way fewer calories, and has more fruit content, along with some new flavors. So let’s see if this re-brand see’s the new Slice stick around a little longer than the old one did.
8. Sprite Remix
This particular beverage fail is the perfect example to show that just because you’re a successful company, it doesn’t mean that your products will always be as successful. That’s exactly what happened with Coca-Cola and Sprite Remix. Released in 2003, Sprite Remix was a line of colorless caffeine-free sodas that didn’t get much attention. It’s probably one of the least known Sprite flavors. Only on the market for about 2 years before Coca-Cola cut the chord, it wasn’t exactly the most fruitful product the company ever made. The original Sprite Remix Tropical flavored drink was pretty successful, however, and people seemed to really like it. But, its large following wasn’t enough to keep the brand afloat when 2 new flavors – Aruba Jam and Berryclear – came on to the scene. After poor sales in both Canada and the US, Sprite Remix was pulled from the shelves. Then, surprisingly, Coca-Cola went ahead and reintroduced the former beloved Sprite Remix Tropical for a limited time. As a last resort to promote their “remix” selection, Coca-Cola later released a “do-it-yourself” promotion in which it offered free 1.25-ounce flavor packets of Sprite Remix. You could rip it open and pour it in your Sprite yourself, with flavors like grape, vanilla, and cherry. In any case, scrapping the idea altogether might have been the best move they made. When have you ever heard of a remix that’s better than the original? Exactly.
7. Life Savers Soda
It’s practically universal – everybody loves candy. And yes, we all know that it might not be the best thing for your health – especially your teeth – but hey, it tastes really good! And you know what else is bad for your teeth? Soda. In the 1980s, the worst – or the best – was achieved by combining the two to create one, teeth-decaying monster: Life Savers Soda. You know Life Savers, those tasty little ring-shaped fruity candies that resemble lifebuoys? Well they decided they wanted to take things one step further and step out of the candy world. Life Savers Soda sounds like an explosive combination of flavors, right? Who wouldn’t love this candy in a fizzy liquid form? And while it did do splendidly in the taste tests, it tanked once in it hit the stores. How could such a dazzling idea, executed apparently brilliantly, fail so miserably? Well, turns out, having a famous brand can sometimes cause more harm than good when you’re trying to create something new. It’s not that it was bad, per se; it’s simply that people couldn’t dissociate the candy from the soda. Meaning they had different expectations of the drink and were actually expecting to be drinking liquid candy. People were disappointed and couldn’t get over it, so the soda was discontinued.
6. Coca-Cola C2
Have you ever looked at a product and thought that maybe it should have stayed a little while longer in the “testing” stage? Or better yet, remained only as an idea forever? Well, when it comes to Coca-Cola C2, this is probably what should’ve happened. Coca-Cola C2 was put on the shelves in 2004, and it was basically destined to fail from the start. Why, you ask? It’s simple: the marketing. Because, at first glance, this new product looked pretty amazing. It was a hybrid diet drink, that tasted more-or-less like a regular Coke. It had half the calories, and half the carbs of a standard Coke and overall seemed like the best alternative to all out Diet Coke. The problem came from its target audience. The $50 million advertising campaign – which no one really remembers anyway – was targeted at men ages 20 to 40 who might want to drink diet soda, but didn’t dare to do it for fear that drinking diet soda would be perceived as “feminine.” Needless to say, it was a massive failure. Not only were men not interested in the product – as it wasn’t different enough – but even women couldn’t care less. Yes, because of the clear inequity in the advertising, but also because they already had Diet Coke if they wanted a low-calorie drink. After it was pulled from the shelves, Coca-Cola revisited the idea, but this time, with a better approach and a new name, Coke Zero. It offers a similar taste with zero calories and is still available today.
5. Coca-Cola Life
Yet, another one of Coca-Cola’s failures that has earned the title of “really bad idea” is Coca-Cola Life. As we mentioned before, the soda industry is slowly decreasing in popularity as healthy alternatives are becoming more and more popular. Obviously, this doesn’t sit well with the soda giants, and Coca-Cola is ready to do anything when it comes to preserving their brand. Coca-Cola Life also faced similar problems with reception and brand differentiation that we’ve seen before. It was another lower-calorie – but not calorie-free – drink, sweetened with natural sweeteners like cane sugar and stevia. It was designed to appeal to the more “health conscious” drinkers of this world, and the idea behind the leafy green branding was to position the soda as a “healthier” option. Because, of course, everybody knows that when it’s green, it’s automatically good for you. Or so Coca-Cola thought. In a way, it’s not totally false, after all, the product does have 45-percent fewer calories than the full-calorie soda, but that doesn’t make it healthy. It mostly seems like low-calorie options, like Coca-Cola Life, dilute the market of buyers rather than bringing in new customers. In other words, those who buy Coca-Cola Life are the same people who buy products like Diet Coke or Coke Zero — they’re not new customers. It was discontinued just about everywhere but can still be found in the US. But for how much longer? No one really knows.
It’s not always that people stand up and fight for their soda rights, but in the case of Josta, the battle has been long and hard ever since it was supposedly unfairly discontinued. Josta was one of the first major energy drinks to be marketed in America. The high-energy drink was produced by PepsiCo and had a somewhat fruity taste. Loaded full of caffeine, this drink wasn’t exactly the healthiest thing you could get. With guarana as the main ingredient – it didn’t help matters. For those who don’t know, guarana is a plant named for the Guarani tribe in the Amazon. While it can have a lot of health benefits, everything has a bad side, and this was the main concern when it came to the soda. Before PepsiCo released Josta, no other large-scale company had taken on the challenge of releasing an energy drink before. Never mind a super high-energy one! Energy drinks are nothing more than soda, but with several times more caffeine and large amounts of sugar, so you would think Pepsi would be the perfect candidate to release such a drink. After the initial curiosity factor wore off, the drink was discontinued after a few years, mostly because it wasn’t selling well anymore. Since then, numerous requests and online petitions have been made asking PepsiCo to bring Josta back, but so far, no luck.
3. Coca-Cola Vio
Once again, another bad idea from Coca-Cola? How can that be? Well, soda on its own is great. And milk on its own is great, but it can also be paired quite nicely with a lot of things, like cereal, cookies, and especially chocolate syrup. But, just because two things are great on their own, it doesn’t necessarily mean that together, they’ll thrive. Coca-Cola failed to see that when they invented possibly one of the worst beverage combinations ever: a fruit-flavored, carbonated milk called Vio. We can all appreciate chocolate milk or even strawberry or banana milk – it’s quite popular with kids around the world. But why, oh, why would any milk need to be extra fizzy? Sure, Asian markets aren’t fazed by carbonated milk, as it is pretty common to find over there. But, fruit-flavored carbonated milk? It seems like perhaps it was one step too far. After all, who in their right mind would ever want a carbonated “fresh citrus” milk drink? Coca-Cola Vio came in four flavors, including peach-berry and mango, and was described as being “like a birthday party for a polar bear.” Not too sure what a polar bear party actually is, but anyway…. This description might not make Vio any more appealing, but to be fair, when your product consists of milk, fruit, sugar, and bubbles, nothing really will. For obvious reasons, Vio is no longer sold and fizzled out pretty fast.
2. Thanksgiving Dinner Soda
Yes, you heard that right. Thanksgiving Dinner Soda. Back in 2004, Jones Soda found a way to take your usually delicious Thanksgiving Dinner and turn it into a bottled soda. There were five flavors, all sold in a limited-edition holiday pack. It included Green Bean Casserole Soda, Mashed Potato & Butter Soda, Cranberry Soda, and Turkey & Gravy Soda. These sodas were designed to give you all the flavors of a Thanksgiving dinner without requiring you to chew food. Even though it seems a little unnecessary, Jones Soda does specialize in odd soft-drink flavors, so it shouldn’t be too much of a shock. While these do not look like anything anyone would ever want to drink – like ever – Jones Soda donated a portion of the proceeds to charity. So, we can’t totally hate on the idea too much, but still. Any other flavor probably would’ve done way better in terms of sales, ergo, more money for charity. But, then again, curiosity is always a big incentive to try something new, so maybe it wasn’t so silly after all. I wonder what other holiday dinner soda they’re going to come up with next. The soda scene has now been changed forever.
1. Mr. Pibb
More often than not, new products are launched to compete with other similar ones already on the market. Companies try to create their own version and hope they did it better. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it simply flops. This is what happened with Mr.Pibb. Launched in 1972 by Coca-Cola, Mr.Pibb was a direct competitor to the successful Dr. Pepper. Both drinks had the same peppery-flavor profile and the same color packaging, so there was no denying the obvious resemblance. Even the original name for Mr. Pibb was Peppo – which was pushing their luck a little. Dr. Pepper ended up suing Coca-Cola, and they had to change the name. When it launched, as a way to be cheeky, Coca-Cola had tasting groups in Waco, Texas, Dr. Pepper’s birth city. In 2001, the name changed again, this time to Pibb Xtra, and it can still be found today in some markets in the US. However, as for Dr.Pepper, it is distributed all over the world. Dr. Pepper has been on the market since 1885, which makes it the oldest soft drink in the country – obviously, it wasn’t going to let some imposter move into the neighborhood without putting up a fight.