Food and beverage group, PepsiCo, is planning a major blitz for its lemon-lime carbonated brand, Sierra Mist, during the forthcoming Super Bowl. The company is intending to allocate almost half of its airtime during the game to the brand which was launched nationwide on Wednesday.

The Super Bowl onslaught will mark the beginning of an aggressive campaign for Sierra Mist which PepsiCo is looking to transform into a major player in its portfolio, alongside Pepsi and Mountain Dew.

Pepsi has been trying since as far back as 1963 to come up with a viable competitor in the $6.5 billion lemon-lime CSD segment, where Cadbury Schweppes-owned 7-Up and Coca-Cola's Sprite are the major players. The lemon-lime market is the second largest sector in the CSD market after colas.

Sierra Mist was launched in 2000 and looks to be better placed than Pepsi's previous lemon-lime launches to succeed. Volumes in the first 10 months of 2002 were up by 2% against a decline in the lemon-lime category as a whole of 2%.

Crucially, PepsiCo has recently persuaded its bottlers to de-list the more established brand, 7-Up, in favour of Sierra Mist, allowing PepsiCo to launch its brand nationwide. When the brand was first launched, Sierra Mist only enjoyed around 60% distribution in the US and was absent from key regional markets such as New York, Seattle and Minneapolis. However, PepsiCo says the brand is now available in 92% of US markets.