There have been hundreds of different soda brands and variants that have been released over the years, but only a few have truly stood the test of time and become classics. However, in this article, we will not talk about the classics, as we are here to discuss the sodas that actually didn’t make it, although some of them became quite popular for a short period of time. Here are the sodas that tried but failed in the beverage industry.
One of the most infamous failed sodas is the New Coke, which is a new formula for the Coca-Cola drink that was introduced in 1985. In the early to mid-1980s, the Coca-Cola Company was losing market share to non-cola drinks and diet sodas that had become quite popular during that era. In addition, there were also blind taste tests that were conducted, where volunteers and consumers actually preferred the sweeter taste of Pepsi, the rival drink of Coke.
So, in order to compete with diet drinks and their rival Pepsi, the company decided to reformulate the original Coke drink into something that has a very different flavor from the ones that people are used to. The New Coke then replaced the original drink in 1985, but it immediately caught backlash because of how it didn’t taste as good as the original. In just three months after the release of the New Coke, the company reintroduced the original Coke formula as “Coca-Cola Classic.” The New Coke was eventually discontinued in 2002.
Besides Coke, the Pepsi brand also made a blunder by introducing Crystal Pepsi in 1992. Crystal Pepsi is a variant that has a clear appearance as opposed to the original Pepsi drink, which has a dark caramel color. The Crystal Pepsi is supposed to be PepsiCo’s entry into the Clear Craze, which is a trend or marketing fad in the 1990s where gadgets and products have a clear case, exterior, or appearance. The craze began with the reintroduction of Ivory soap that has the marketing slogan “99 and 44/100 percent pure.”
During the first year of Crystal Pepsi’s release, PepsiCo was able to get $474 million in soft drink sales just from the popularity of Crystal Pepsi alone. However, it was quickly discontinued in late 1993, as the Crystal Pepsi craze faded fast, and the last batches of the Pepsi variant were delivered in the first months of 1994. Although it wasn’t a failure in the first year of production, it quickly lost its popularity mainly due to the fact that consumers liked the original Pepsi drink better.
Josta was a brand of soda or soft drink that was introduced by PepsiCo in 1995. Interestingly, Josta was the first energy drink that was introduced by a major US beverage company. Because it is considered an energy drink, Josta contains guarana and caffeine, which are two substances that give a proper energy boost to consumers.
Despite being relatively popular in the early years of its production, Josta eventually fell out of the spotlight in favor of other energy drinks like Red Bull. Josta was then discontinued in 1999 following a change in corporate strategy for PepsiCo. After Josta was discontinued, fans of the drink would often open petitions to reintroduce Josta into PepsiCo’s lineup. The clamor for the Josta brand to be revived was further strengthened when the energy drink appeared in the Disney+ series “Loki” in 2021.
Orbitz was a peculiar fruit-flavored beverage that was made by The Clearly Food & Beverage Company of Canada and introduced in 1997. Similar to Crystal Pepsi, Orbitz is a drink that capitalized on the Clear Craze, but instead of having just a clear appearance, this non-carbonated soft drink has small edible balls that are inside the bottle and are presented in different colors.
The floating edible balls were supposed to give a different feel to consumers whenever they were drinking it, and the company that made Orbitz even marketed it to be a “texturally enhanced alternative beverage.” Unfortunately, the marketing tactic did not really work well with consumers, as a lot of people don’t really want edible balls in the beverages they are drinking, and some would even say that the different flavors didn’t taste good.
The Orbitz drink was discontinued in 1998, just one year after its launch. Surprisingly, unopened Orbitz bottles became collector’s items and would even show up in auctions. Similar to the Josta energy drink, many people started petitions to bring back the Orbitz drink. Fortunately, the company that made Orbitz is still in business, so it may be possible for the Orbitz drink to come back in the near future.
Another failed product from PepsiCo is Pepsi Blue, which has a blue color and a berry flavor that is quite different in taste compared to the original Pepsi. Pepsi Blue was introduced in the United States and Canada in 2002 and was later released in other countries.
This unique drink was marketed as a “Berry Cola Fusion” and is supposed to emphasize the blue color that Pepsi always uses on their bottles and cans. Pepsi Blue had a pretty big marketing campaign in the early 2000s, and the drink was even advertised by Britney Spears, one of the biggest pop stars during that era.
However, consumers in the United States and Canada didn’t like the berry flavor of Pepsi Blue, so it was discontinued in those countries in 2004, although the drink would remain available in other countries as a limited-time beverage. Pepsi Blue would later be reintroduced in the US and Canada in 2021, but the availability of the drink was limited.
These are some of the most notable soda brands and drinks that were launched with big marketing campaigns but eventually faded out of obscurity due to many reasons. Luckily, some of the drinks we have mentioned above are gaining traction on the internet, and this resurgence of popularity may eventually lead to the revival of these drinks that are considered nostalgic by many people.