I had a chance to try Diet Pepsi Max, Pepsi’s latest entry into the cola category. While the name “Max” isn’t necessarily synonymous with energy, it seems like they hit the nail on the head with this entry.
Made with an aspartame and ace-k sweetener blend, the product drinks reasonably well. Decent level of sweetness and an aftertaste that I can deal with. Basically, this is as good as Diet Pepsi gets in the taste department.
More important and newsworthy is that it has 46mg of caffeine per 8 ounces. This means that the product has 115 mg of caffeine per bottle — more than your typical 8 oz energy drink. Plus, they’ve done a reasonable job of branding it, with minimal text on the label. The biggest risk is that people won’t get it. After all, “invigorating cola” might be interpreted as something a la Diet Coke Plus. “Energizing cola” might have been a better way to go.
What really amazes me is that it took this long for Pepsi (and we’re still waiting, Coke) to recognize that they can take advantage of their flagship product (cola) in the energy category. Instead of making things up like Diet Pepsi Jazz and fancy press kits that play music (true story…), all they had to do was add caffeine….a simple thing that they’ve been using forever.
We’ll see how this stuff does…If it fails, it’s certainly going to be because of branding and marketing….Otherwise the category is ripe for a product like this.