- Pepsi is teaming up with TV network Bravo to debut a non-alcoholic sparkling rosé-flavored cola this weekend at its inaugural convention, BravoCon, in New York City. The company said in a release zero-calorie Pepsi Sparkling Rosé is a "light and bubbly take on the popular wine, without the alcohol."
- The limited-edition beverage was inspired by reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump, who appeared on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
- The soda company plans to host a Pepsi Rosé-branded bar during a one-hour BravoCon episode of "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" airing on Sunday and featuring Vanderpump as one of the guests. The product will also be featured at a photo activation opportunity, the Vanderpump Rules After Party, and on the main performance stage at BravoCon, the company said.
Pepsi is tapping into brand loyalty and a hot trend with this limited-edition beverage launch exclusively for BravoCon. Rosé has been riding high with consumers for the past few years, and Bravo has legions of what Pepsi Vice President of Marketing Todd Kaplan called "some of the most unapologetic and dedicated fans out there."
If the company can attract a significant slice of that audience through this launch — and the appearances and activities at this weekend's BravoCon — it could translate into additional sales for other Pepsi products regardless of whether the sparkling rosé becomes a regular part of its portfolio.
Limited-edition launches can be expensive, especially if there is a lot of R&D invested in developing a brand new drink. But the effort can be worthwhile if demand is generated, along with extra publicity from an event. The impending debut also builds up anticipation for what else Pepsi might have in the pipeline for future launches.
But will consumers be interested in a different colored cola? It will likely depend on the drink's taste, but color change hasn't always been a successful move for the brand. The company launched Crystal Pepsi, a caffeine-free, clear version of the drink in the early 1990s, but it was only sold for a brief time before it was discontinued. However, fueled by '90s nostalgia, the company brought the clear drink back for a limited time a few years ago.
Coca-Cola, PepsiCo's main competitor, has had success by innovating with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and its new Orange Vanilla Coke. The latter, its first new flavor in more than 10 years, enjoyed strong sales after debuting this past spring. The company said it took less a year to move from flavor concept to testing and then to introduction. So it's possible to move to market relatively quickly with sufficient planning if this Pepsi Sparkling Rosé gains consumer interest.
And it may be worth it. Both Coke and Pepsi have said innovation helped boost sales amid consumer concern about the healthiness of the drinks.
Outreach to consumers could be another asset for PepsiCo, which recently told analysts it will boost spending on advertising and marketing by 12% this year to enhance overall sales and Pepsi's market share. This strategy could increase net income for the company after both net sales and expenses were up during the company's third quarter.
Whether Pepsi Sparkling Rosé turns out to be a hit probably won't become apparent until long after the weekend is over. If the company is successful in prolonging the product conversation across social media channels, then the beverage could have a longer life and potentially be the focus of a later launch during warmer weather, when rosé's profile typically goes up.