Pepsi is copying a cult-favourite soda brand with a new drink -- and it could be a $US100 million win

PepsiCobubly can will have cutesy messages, such as ‘oh hi’ on the tabs
  • PepsiCo has launched a new sparkling water brand called bubly.
  • The zero-calorie drink is challenging cult classic LaCroix with bright packaging and cutesy catchphrases, such as tabs that say “Hey u.”
  • Credit Suisse estimates that bubly has the potential to exceed $US100 million in retail sales in 2018.

Pepsi has a new drink that seems to be taking cues from cult-classic sparkling water brand LaCroix.

On Thursday, PepsiCo announced the launch of its new sparkling water brand, bubly. No, that’s not a typo – the new brand, which will be available across the US this month, is un-capitalised and spelled with just one b.

The zero-calorie sparkling water will come in eight flavours, with cutesy names such as limebubly, mangobubly and cherrybubly.

Packaging is similarly twee, with bright cans and greetings such as “Hey u,” “hiii,” and “yo” on the tabs, according to the company. Cans will have personal messages such as “I feel like I can be open around u” and “hold cans with me.”

Bubly 2PepsiCo

Analysts say that bubly could drive significant sales for PepsiCo, especially as soda sales slip and the company invests in healthier options.

Credit Suisse analyst Laurent Grandet wrote in a note to investors in January that bubly has the potential to exceed $US100 million in retail sales in 2018. By the end of 2019, Grandet estimates that figure to reach roughly $US220 million.

With the $US1.2 billion sparkling water category growing rapidly, Grandet says that bubly has an ideal opportunity to challenge the category leader: cult classic brand LaCroix, which currently has 36% of the market.

LaCroix sales have exploded in recent years, even as other competitors have entered the category. In December, Nick Caporella, the CEO of LaCroix parent company National Beverage Corp., slammed “new competitive look-alikes,” while maintaining that LaCroix remains the clear leader in the sparkling water category.

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