Soft drinks giant PepsiCo, has joined Coca-Cola in reinvigorating its flagship brand by announcing plans to launch a blue version of Pepsi-Cola. The announcement comes a week before the launch of Coca-Cola's Vanilla Coke.

The Purchase, N.Y.-based company said yesterday that it hoped the berry flavoured drink would reinvigorate the cola category by appealing to teens and young adults and would be rolled out in August.

"With its unique look and taste, Pepsi Blue has the potential to reinvigorate the cola category," said Gary Rodkin, president and CEO of PCNA. "We're convinced innovation is the key to growth. In the past 15 months alone, with exciting new products like Mountain Dew Code Red, Pepsi Twist and Sierra Mist, we've proved consumers - particularly teens and young adults - will respond enthusiastically to new carbonated soft drinks. We think Pepsi Blue can do for cola what Code Red did for Dew - that is, grow the entire category."

The launch of Pepsi Blue will reflect the success of Mountain Dew Code Red, one of the few drinks to draw new consumers recently, which was introduced by Pepsi last spring.

"Code Red is a great success model for us to follow," said Dave Burwick, senior vice president of marketing for Pepsi-Cola North America. "We basically hope Pepsi Blue" can do for the Pepsi trademark "what Code Red has done for the Mountain Dew trademark."
 
Pepsi will follow much the same marketing pattern for Pepsi Blue that it did for Code Red, by gradually building Pepsi Blue awareness among retail customers and consumers. Sampling efforts will begin in teen hangouts and other youth-oriented venues over the next few weeks. The impending introduction of Pepsi Blue also will be teased on the Internet, outdoor postings and other non-traditional outlets.