Mac Musings

Pepsi 1, Visitors 0

Daniel Knight - 2005.03.18

We live in an interesting world where the best tasting cola (based on numerous taste comparisons) isn't the best selling cola. The same holds true in other areas - VHS beat out the technically superior Beta, and Microsoft Windows outsells Mac OS X at about a 20:1 ratio.

For one reason or another, consumers don't always make logical decisions. In fact, we probably make a lot more emotional ones than logical ones.

That's the reason Coke continues to outsell Pepsi. Emotions. Feelings. Memories. People associate Coke with good times in their past, so they're unlikely to switch even if they've tried Pepsi or Diet Rite and like the taste.

I've been a Coke drinker for most of my life, although there were times when I'd drink Coke or Pepsi interchangeably depending on which was on sale. But when I switched to diet cola about 15 years ago, I found myself sticking with Diet Coke. I'd avoid restaurants that served Diet Pepsi because I found Diet Coke had a richer, more robust flavor.

I've tried going caffeine free a few times, but it isn't easy. Finding caffeine-free Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi - or Diet Rite, which doesn't even have a caffeinated version - isn't easy. Besides, who doesn't need a little chemical stimulation to get things rolling in the morning or keep the candle burning at night?

Last summer I switched to Diet Rite while training for a bicycle trip, only to find that I was buying out my neighborhood grocer every week. I found that I could make it without caffeine - and that I really enjoyed the flavor of Diet Rite.

Later in the summer I began drinking Diet Pepsi, mostly because my girlfriend tends to keep a 12-pack in her fridge and I needed the caffeine to help with the long drive home late at night. I came to prefer the crisper flavor of Diet Pepsi to the heavier taste of Diet Coke, and today it's my cola of choice.

Not that I won't drink Diet Coke or Diet Rite. I'm less picky about that, but I prefer Diet Pepsi, and now it has some very good memories associated with it.

Pepsi One

Back in 1998 Pepsi launched a cola for people who wanted the taste of regular Pepsi without the calories or who wanted a diet cola that didn't scream DIET on the can or bottle. Those who tried it often liked it, but Pepsi One sales peaked in 1999.

Now it's making a comeback.

Pepsi One has been reformulated with Splenda, the same sweetener used in Diet Rite, Fruit2O, and some other drinks. And Pepsi is taking a novel approach to launching the new Pepsi One - the company isn't using television.

According to an article on CNET, Pepsi is launching the soft drink with Internet advertising, billboards, print ads, trading cards, and the new website - but read on before clicking that link.

The Oneify website is Flash-dependent. I know that, because I first visited it using Firefox, and I use the Flashblock extension to prevent Flash programs from automatically loading and running. Why? Because a lot of advertisers and sites are using Flash to make popup ads, and I don't like popup ads. (That's why I have popups blocked in Firefox and Safari.)

The first thing you'll notice when you visit is that it resizes your browser window, tabs and all., and centers it on your screen. I don't like it when a program resizes my windows, especially if I have several tabs open and have the window just the size and location I like.

If Pepsi wants to control the vertical and horizontal, they should create a new window, not resize the existing window. That's just rude. So is creating a noisy website that doesn't include either a warning or a mute button. I'm glad I didn't visit in an office cubicle....

I have nothing against Flash-based sites. I just don't think it's very nice for a site to resize your browser or play music without your permission.

I'm looking forward to giving the new Pepsi One a try, but after visiting, I'd have to rate the site Pepsi 1, visitors 0.