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In its largest product launch to date, backed by a $55 million investment, Pepsi is mixing a soft drink and an energy drink, with double the caffeine of regular Diet Pepsi but one-third the caffeine in coffee or energy drinks.

This drink will target men ages 25–34 years with the benefits of a diet drink, making it the first drink in the cola category to appeal to men through a diet claim. Although Coca-Cola expects its Coke Zero to cannibalize some market share, Coke Zero is not intended for men but for anyone on a diet.

To go along with its innovative product, Pepsi is launching a “Wake up, people!” campaign. Commercials promote Diet Pepsi Max as a solution to yawning, which becomes contagious and interrupts vital moments in life, such as a wedding or a job interview. This advertising essence will span TV, radio, out of home, and the Internet.

On the Internet, Pepsi will place ads on Facebook, Yahoo, pepsimax.com, and wakeuppeople.com. In addition, it is attempting to use the still untraditional mode of viral marketing through its Web site, which features a yawn-a-thon, a page on which people can donate their yawns by uploading photos, and a means for consumers to send wake-up calls to their friends narrated by Ben Stein, the comedian best known for his snore-inducing turn as a teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Pepsi is hoping this drink will become a core brand and gain 3–5% market share. With its killer campaign, Diet Pepsi Max may give the Coke Zero campaign, which spoofs copyright lawyers, a real run for its money.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why is it beneficial for Pepsi to use multiple forms of nontraditional and traditional media?

Kate MacArthur, “Pepsi Goes on $55 mil Binge for Diet Max,” Advertising Age, June 25, 2007.