PepsiCo Pitches Sierra Mist Natural

PepsiCo has renamed its lemon-lime soda to Sierra Mist Natural, and introduced a new campaign this week to reflect the beverage’s more natural ingredients.

TV spots, via Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, debuted on Monday. According to PepsiCo, the reformulated soda contains no preservatives or artificial flavors, and is now made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.

The commercials communicate Sierra Mist Natural’s new positioning by showing a variety of “nature experts”—rocks, trees and a rainbow—craving for the product. In one spot, a tree devises a plan to trip a hiker and, in the process, have Sierra Mist Natural “spill” all over him. The new tagline is: “The soda nature would drink if nature drank soda.”

In addition to TV, the effort includes print, out-of-home and digital ads—all running this month during Dancing with the Stars and The Event, and in magazines, including People and Men’s Journal. PepsiCo has also introduced new packaging for Sierra Mist Natural.

Major beverage companies like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have traditionally spent more marketing their cola brands—Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola, respectively—but now they’re turning their attention to growing consumer demand for natural products. In fact, “natural” is a top priority when it comes to carbonated soft drinks, said PepsiCo’s vp of natural and flavored sodas Kristina Mangelsdorf.

The campaign aims to get the message across by positioning Sierra Mist Natural as the “hero” in each of the scenarios; and it’s done using humor. “We want to really signal that there is something new in town and this is not just your grandmother’s carbonated soft drink,” Mangelsdorf said.

PepsiCo didn’t disclose the cost of the campaign. The company, however, is “putting a full year’s worth of media investment into the fourth quarter of 2010 to support the Sierra Mist brand.” PepsiCo spent $12 million advertising Sierra Mist both last year and in the first six months of this year, excluding online, per the Nielsen Co. As a comparison, the company spent $85 million advertising Pepsi last year.