I Can See Through You, Crystal Pepsi
24 years ago, in 1992, the idea that junk food could be marketed differently and given a healthy spin was just a novelty.
Junk food had no ulterior motive to be anything but simultaneously gross and delicious.
That year, the geniuses at Pepsi decided to introduce a new product, Crystal Pepsi, that would eschew the vaguely garbage color of the original Pepsi Cola for a crisp, pure, and most importantly clear new colorscheme. I think the idea behind the soda boils down to tricking consumers into thinking “water is clear, water is good for me, Crystal Pepsi is clear, Crystal Pepsi is good for me!”
It didn’t quite work, literally no one was fooled, and Crystal Pepsi was out of stores within two years. Rest In Peace.
Or maybe not. Now, in 2016, Crystal Pepsi is back, marketed as a novelty product on a limited-time 8-week release. With the re-release of clear cola back into the hearts (and mouths) of the people, it would seem like the 90’s are back in full force. Crystal Pepsi isn’t the only 90’s drink to return, either. Surge, Coke’s “Mountain Dew killer” was re-released last summer.
Hi-C’s Ghostbusters themed “Ecto-Cooler” was released earlier this summer to promote the new Ghostbuster film. Like Ghostbusters 2016, Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtles 2016, and every other movie reboot, these sodas are being released on a wave of nostalgia with little regard to whether they should actually be unleashed onto the world.
I, for one, love the nostalgia rush. I love everything about Crystal Pepsi, Surge, and Ecto-Coolers. I love that Fergie released a song 10 years after her debut titled "M.I.L.F. $."
I love that Pokemon was the most controversial topic of the year besides Donald Trump, and I love that both of those things peaked around 2004. It’s funny to see how much people young, old, and in-between, seem enamored with the things I deeply associate with being a kid. The nostalgia makes me feel young—before it makes me feel old, before that makes me feel weird.
I tried Crystal Pepsi so I could write about it here. I’ve always been curious how they could turn something so innately, naturally brown into something that looks like water. Seeing the bottle for the first time nearly brought me to tears. I knew that this was no mere marketing ploy, but a chance to be part of a revolution. This feeling faded somewhat as I took the first sip.
It’s literally just Pepsi, but clear. More fun to look at then drink, because let’s be real: who drinks Pepsi when there’s Coke available no more than 3 feet away?