In the early 1990s, a marketing fad equating clarity with purity began with the remake of Ivory soap from its classic milky solution; the idea spread to many companies, including PepsiCo. Crystal Pepsi was marketed as a caffeine-free “clear alternative” to normal colas, equating clearness with purity and health. Its marketing slogan was “You’ve never seen a taste like this”.
In 1992, PepsiCo introduced Crystal Pepsi to test markets in Denver, Sacramento, Dallas, and Providence, and the product generated a positive response. Pleased with the results, PepsiCo launched the cola on April 12, 1992, and began to sell it nationwide in 1993. A large marketing campaign was launched, for which the company invented the world’s first photo-realistic, computer-generated bus wrap printing. A series of television advertisements featuring Van Halen’s hit song “Right Now” premiered on national television on January 31, 1993, during Super Bowl XXVII. Another marketing ploy was to give out full sized sample bottles with the Sunday paper deliveries such as the Boston Globe in Massachusetts. In its first year, Crystal Pepsi captured a full percentage point of U.S. soft drink sales, approximately $474 million. Coca-Cola followed suit by launching Tab Clear on December 14, 1992.
Initial sales were good but quickly fell. Pepsi pulled the drink off the market and returned several months later with a reformulated citrus drink titled “Crystal From Pepsi”, but this was short-lived as well.