Launch strategy for Nitro Pepsi a good one, expert says

Author: Shannon Roddel

ND Experts

Mitchell Olsen

Mitchell Olsen

Mendoza College of Business

Pepsi
Pepsi

A “soft” drink, for certain.

On Wednesday (Feb. 23), PepsiCo announced a brand-new beverage called Nitro Pepsi, a first-of-its-kind nitrogen-infused cola that is creamier and smoother than traditional carbonated sodas. Nitro Pepsi, referred to by the beverage giant as its “most ambitious feat yet,” will be available in the United States on March 28 in both regular and vanilla flavors. The canned drinks will use a nitrogen-filled capsule that releases the gas when the can is opened, inspired by the technology Guinness uses for its nitro beers.

After first teasing the debut of nitrogen-infused soft drinks three years ago, Pepsi is finally releasing Nitro Pepsi and the strategy has been a good one, according to Mitchell Olsen, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.

Mitchell Olsen
Mitchell Olsen

“Some may remember that Pepsi offered samples of the product at the 2019 Super Bowl that occurred in, of all places, Coca-Cola’s hometown of Atlanta,” Olsen said. “At the time, it was reported that Pepsi would focus the initial launch on restaurants and bars. That strategy made a lot of sense, since servers at restaurants and bars were in a great position to facilitate ideal trial experiences of this new type of soft drink — for instance, by increasing the chances people tried it without ice or a straw as Pepsi recommends.”

However, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down restaurants and bars in 2020, so Olsen says it seems Pepsi took some time to completely redraw its launch strategy for Nitro Pepsi.

“Clearly, the company is doing a lot to ensure it has an effective launch plan in place, and for good reason,” he said. “If the product is successful, Pepsi will have created a new form of soft drink — a feat that will offer more upside than simply introducing a new flavor.

“In the short term, Pepsi can bring some excitement and new customers into the soft drink category. In the long term, Nitro Pepsi offers the possibility of significantly expanding Pepsi’s overall product line as every one of its flavors could now come in regular, diet and nitro.”

 

Contact: Mitchell Olsen, 574-631-1734, molsen2@nd.edu