Pepsi gets back to basics

Pepsi Co. is moving forward by way of reaching back with its newest gimmick, Pepsi Throwback. Until Feb. 22, Coca-Cola’s mortal enemy will be available in its original formula, a recipe containing a now unfamiliar substance called sugar.

[Note: This is not to be confused with Equal, Sweet’N Low, Splenda or any other aspartame-derived artificial sweeteners. Sugar, as your parents might remember, was once treated as a sweetener in its own right. Its popularity took a severe hit come the advent of the trend of embracing misguided health promotion tips.]

The limited edition beverage was most likely conceived in response to consumer frustration with the embarrassment of wildly complicated beverages (e.g., Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi One) saturating the soft drink market. It’s possible that the nostalgic appeal of Pepsi Throwback will make the new/old soda as successful as New Coke was unsuccessful.

I would not be the least bit surprised to learn of human rights abuses in the Pepsi Co. marketing department. Barring the use of torture chambers and threats of violence, I cannot imagine how any one company’s marketing think-tank could be so productive. The introduction of the newly retooled retro-styled soft drink comes on the heels of a complete overhaul of the beverage manufacturer’s image — a source I very much admire feels certain that the new logo accompanying Pepsi’s recent rebranding was inspired by Shepard Fairey’s iconic “HOPE” poster for the Obama presidential campaign. Never to be outdone — not even by themselves — Pepsi made the new Throwback product available on Dec. 29 of last year.

Speaking for myself, I’m quite excited by the new product. I’ll be the first to snatch it up if I see it on shelves. It captures all the appeal of azúcar-sweetened Mexican Coke with none of the sketchiness.