Pepsi MAX launch


In 1993 Pepsi Co launched Pepsi MAX, a sugar free diet equivalent. Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd enjoy brand franchise and in the summer of that year Scotland and the Midlands became the global test market for the Pepsi MAX launch. This involved a high profile marketing campaign dubbed “Maximum taste, no sugar”, enjoying significant advertising, and on-pack offers.

MAX was aimed at a core group of young men, revealed by qualitative research, who wanted a no-sugar cola with an acceptable `regular’ taste and masculine imagery. The objective was to create a major brand which would grow the cola market by entering new territory (critical for attracting trade support), convert Coke drinkers to Pepsi, and give them `permission’ to consume more cola (being sugar-free): a new, real alternative to regular cola. With two TV commercials: higher weight in Central, lower weight in STV/Grampian supported by posters and football perimeter boards, Nielsen figures showed sales grew to over 3 million litres per month one year after launch. By then, Pepsi Max had achieved 4% of all cola sales, and 50% of its volume had come from outside the branded cola market. A model was built from data collected in the test regions enabling prediction of `persuasive awareness’.

Role: National Account Executive for Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd on the TESCO account

My role was to assist the Senior Account Manager in the formal presentation of Pepsi MAX to senior buyers and gain distribution into the market test area. It also included the following:

  • Negotiation of price and distribution including shelf space and Gondola ends
  • Organisation of product distribution in liaison with Tesco Central distribution in Cardiff
  • Identified opportunities for free standing shelf displays
  • Distribution of promotional material at regional store level
  • Relationship building with Regional Store Management ensuring a successful launch at ground level
  • Organised in-store events such as Pepsi MAX tastings and door-to-door sampling


  • To be part of the Cola wars was a phenomenal learning experience
  • The campaign was a complete success and Pepsi MAX was quickly rolled out nationally. Establishing a new sector of its own our campaign also became the blue print for international markets having gained from the experience of the UK launch. The rollout was expanded to Ireland the following September, and to France, Holland and Australia the following December. By the end of 1994, Pepsi Max was sold in approximately 20 countries and by the end of 1995, that figure had more than doubled.
  • Tracking (Conquest Research) showed gains in advertising awareness, trial by core consumers, desired brand image (confirmed by qualitative research). The brand was a creation of its advertising.

For more examples in campaign management please choose from the following options: Stoneridge ElectronicsVELUX After Sales, VELUX “Paint the Town Red”Pepsi re-design, or Tango Orange Man

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