Pepsi to Kick Off NFL Cola

Pepsi is putting a familiar twist on its core brands. “Pepsi Lemon NFL Kickoff” colas will hit shelves on Aug. 11. The limited-time-only, lemon-flavored soda will be available in both diet and regular until November. A Pepsi rep confirmed the details of the pending launch.

Pepsi is no stranger to lemon-flavored cola. Its Pepsi Twist colas debuted in 2000 and were discontinued two years ago. PepsiCo, as well as Coca-Cola, have shied away from full-time line extensions in favor of a less risky in-and-out strategy.

Most recently, PepsiCo has introduced Sierra Mist Undercover Orange (in conjunction with the movie Get Smart). Last year, it trotted out Pepsi Summer Mix, Mountain Dew Game Fuel (tying in with Halo 3) and Sierra Mist Lemon Squeeze.

The new entry, which will be available nationally in 20-oz., two-liter and 12-pack cans, will be supported by TV, print and online ads. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (who has been linked to pop singer Jessica Simpson) will make his third appearance in a Pepsi spot. Marketing will tout the product as “Pepsi with a kick of lemon.” BBDO, New York, is Pepsi’s agency.

The new product will endorse the current Pepsi Stuff promotion. Each cap of specially marked Pepsi NFL Kickoff will feature a code worth double Pepsi Stuff points.

Pepsi Stuff offers consumers a way to collect codes from Pepsi products and use them to redeem prizes including music downloads, Pepsi fashion apparel, a trip to the Super Bowl and others. The program kicked off in January. Nearly all of Pepsi’s marketing dollars have been dedicated to promoting Pepsi Stuff.

The budget behind Pepsi NFL Kickoff was not disclosed. However, Pepsi spent $27 million on ads during the same period last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.