Here’s The Real Reason No One Drinks Diet Pepsi Anymore

sofia vergara pepsi commercial
Sofia Vergara for Diet Pepsi.

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Diet Pepsi will get a relaunch campaign from TBWA/Chiat/Day in mid January with ads starring actress Sofia Vergara under the tagline “Love Every Sip.” (The drink will also be sold with a different sweetener in its ingredients but the ads won’t talk about that.)The question behind the campaign is, why does Diet Pepsi need to be relaunched in the first place?

As everyone in the soda business knows, PepsiCo’s soda business is in the midst of an epic, historic collapse. In Q3 2012, volume at its American division declined 3%, driven by a 4% decline in North America. There was a 7% revenue decline to $5.5 billion. In March 2011, Pepsi was humbled as Diet Coke became the nation’s No.2 favourite drink behind Coke, and Pepsi slipped to No.3. Diet Pepsi is only the 7th most-drunk soda in the U.S.

We’ve noted before that during recent years Pepsi has seen at least 28 senior brand managers leave the company. Pepsi drinks’ senior marketing staff are frequently either new to the business or temporary fixtures.

Yet Ad Age today noted a startling fact that explains, in part, Diet Pepsi’s dismal position. Even though it is one of the biggest brands on the planet, the company spent only $500,000 on ads for Diet Pepsi in 2008, 2009 and 2010 — combined.

In the soda business, that’s the virtual equivalent of zero marketing dollars. For three straight years, PepsiCo essentially failed to remind the nation that Diet Pepsi even existed.

In 2011 it spent a more reasonable $38 million.

Looks like CEO Indra Nooyi has switched the adspend faucet back to the “on” position.