February 8, 2008

Say What?: It's Not Broken. Don't Fix It

It is no surprise that soda manufacturers are always looking to increase sales.

They have introduced new flavors (some, like the repulsive Pepsi Blue, landed with a resounding thud), added vitamins to beverages (Diet Coke Plus), and now the folks at Pepsi -- eager to compete against the ever growing energy drink market -- are hyping Diet Pepsi Max.

In case the multi-million dollar national campaign hasn't been implanted into your brain, Diet Pepsi Max contains ginseng and twice the caffeine of regular Diet Pepsi.

It's actually billed as an "invigorating cola."

Big whoop.

In terms of caffeine, you're talking 46 milligrams per 8 ounces, as opposed to conventional Diet Pepsi's 24 milligrams.

Let's knock down the buzz and put it in perspective: an eight ounce cup of coffee clocks in at approximately 175 milligrams.

If the whole purpose of this drink is to "boost your energy" (as the press kit claims), and caffeine content is one of its selling points, why does it contain less than the smallest size at Starbucks?

Ginseng, meanwhile, is included to "focus your mind." Have I time warped to 1999 when ginseng was the hot new herb on the market?

This concept of ginseng as a mind-sharpener is completely overhyped and appears to be mostly a placebo effect.

New York University clinical assistant professor Lisa Sasson is equally annoyed by this new drink.

"This drink is making it seem like it will give you an edge, a boost of energy, but the best way to achieve that is through adequate sleep," she says.

Sasson believes sleep is underrated. "Sleep deficit catches up. It absolutely affects health and wellness. Having diet soda with a little caffeine and ginseng doesn't make up for the fact that you only got four hours of sleep the night before."

Do you think Diet Pepsi Max will sink or float?

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Given that a fool and his money are soon parted, I predict Pepsi Max will enjoy about a year of strong sales, then go the way of New Coke.