March 16, 2008

Soda 911

After much buzz, Pepsi has finally launched Tava, its new "vitamin enhanced" calorie and caffeine-free sparkling beverage drink, largely aimed at the female 35 - 49 demographic.

A lot of money and effort has been dedicated to Tava.

It's no surprise. Over the past two years, soda sales have been slipping.

Consumers are instead reaching for just as sugary, but healthier sounding beverages
like Vitamin Water or artifically sweetened drinks in fancy glass bottles containing trendy fruits like pomegranate and acai.

Not surprisingly, soda companies are fighting back, no-holds-barred style.

The New York Times recently profiled Tava's alternative marketing strategy -- bypassing traditional media and instead focusing on online advertising and music and art festivals in certain states (among them Colorado, New York, Washington, Florida, and Utah).

Pepsi definitely spent a lot of time -- and money -- dressing up what is basically flavored sparkling water and aspartame with with lots of pretty accesories.

First we have the vitamin factor, clearly thrown in to compete with Diet Coke Plus.

Tava offers 10 percent of the daily requirement of Vitamins E, B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), and a trace mineral known as chromium.

What's the chromium fortification all about? Personally, I think it's just part of the "exotification" of Tava.

Don't get me wrong; chromium is an important mineral. It teams up with insulin to help cells take up glucose and thereby maintain blood sugar levels.

Some recent research also suggests possible links between chromium and heart health.

The good news is that chromium is easily available from whole grains, vegetables, raisins, legumes, nuts, chicken, seafood, and dairy.

Since it is found in many foods and a trace mineral, chromium deficiency is extremely rare.

It is mainly seen in hospital patients on tube feedings, pregnant women, and people whose diets are very high in processed foods.

People eating a variety of foods do not need further supplementation.

Then there's the three flavors.

We're treated to "exotic" names like Mediterranean Fiesta (black cherry citrus), Brazilian Samba (passion fruit lime), and Tahitian Tamure (tropical berry).

In an attempt to class up the joint, Tava's website offers "suggested food pairings" for all its drinks.

For instance, if you're sipping on Mediterranean Fiesta, you're suggested to do so while nibbling on dark chocolate truffles or BBQ spare ribs.

But wait, there's more! Tava comes with a grassroots focus as well.

The website features emerging artists and musicians, and displays "inspirational" messages reminiscent of those often seen on Senior yearbook pages like, "sometimes it's okay to think inside the box, " "set your mind to shuffle," and "what if what if didn't exist?"

Oh, and if you're wondering what Tava means, the Frequently Asked Questions page proclaims that the name was created to "evoke feelings of possibility and discovery."

Do you think Tava will be a hit in Pepsi's roster or a beverage bomb like their Crystal and Blue varieties?

1 comment:

Diane said...

Just tried it at Target, from the soda station at the snack bar. It was great! I'm going to buy some in the can and if it is as good, it will be a hit!