This past Tuesday (Oct. 21), stores around Japan starting stocking this new limited-edition Pepsi. Pepsi White is a cola-yogurt drink, that frankly speaking, tastes like neither. Nonetheless, I do love the packaging, which evokes images of both winter and Christmas. Combined with the unusual proposition of a white cola, the design should be enough to spur curiosity buying and allow a complete sell through of what is sure to be a limited inventory.
What might they have done differently?
My feeling is that they should have gone with distinctively creamy flavor, since Japanese consumers are well-acquainted with the combination of vanilla ice cream and soda. I suspect, however, that the development team was concerned with recent Japanese consumer leanings toward lighter beverages. What they may have forgotten, is that this is a fall-winter product, and sweets consumption always spikes in Japan at this time of year. They probably could have risked giving it a deeper, more memorable flavor.
Suntory, which distributes Pepsi in Japan, has a penchant for releasing buzz-worthy, Japan-only Pepsi variants. However, if they're going to do it, they may want to spend a bit more time on flavor development in the future. Too many of these "huh?" products, while certainly raising the cola's profile, can equally deplete its already-insufficient brand equity in Japan.