Although all things must come to an end, I didn’t think I would have ever witnessed the end of Sierra Mist soda in my lifetime. Although the strategy to pull Sierra Mist off the shelves may have been a brilliant idea for PepsiCo, as a consumer this revelation surprised me.
The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo are extremely competitive, especially when it comes to their sodas. Each of their sodas act as substitutes for their rival. Different vendors, companies, and schools endorse either Coca-Cola Company or PepsiCo products. Restaurants such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway and Chick-fil-A endorse Coca-Cola Company. For that reason, they sell drink options that include Coke, Sprite, Fanta, and Powerade. On the other hand, restaurants including Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken serve PepsiCo products. UMaine dining also falls into that category. PepsiCo products include Crush, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Gatorade and now Starry Lemon Lime soda.
This is not the first time the lemon lime soda has gotten a rebranding for popularity reasons. According to USA Today, PepsiCo tried to replace Sierra Mist in 2016 with a similar soda called Mist Twist. When that business venture failed, PepsiCo decided to revert back to Sierra Mist. Sierra Mist has sustained the market for 24 years, and now, once again, its time has ended.
In a Bloomberg poll that explored popular sodas in the United States, out of 10 drinks, Sierra Mist placed last, showing only 0.1% of Americans prefer Sierra Mist. Coca-Cola is the most popular with 16.6%, and Sprite holds 7%. With this information, it is easy to understand why PepsiCo believed that starting from scratch was the best approach.
Starry is now being advertised in a new light. UMaine’s Bear’s Den is showcasing the new soda, as students are checking out with their meals. The new caffeine-free beverage is now the official soft drink of the NBA and the WNBA.
“The NBA family and PepsiCo have a tremendous track record of finding new and meaningful ways to engage our fans, and bringing the success we’ve built with PepsiCo’s portfolio of brands to STARRY through NBA All-Star is a fitting way to introduce the product to the public,” said Tara Mulcahy, head of marketing partnerships at the NBA.
In addition, Pepsi just released a commercial with Keke Palmer trying and loving the new soda, with Tyresse Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers point guard, commenting in the background.
When in the Memorial Union, I gave Starry a try. Starry stands out from Sprite while boosting the level of sweet lemon flavor in a Sierra Mist. It gives the freshness of a sprite, yet has a unique twist. While the name has not grown on me yet, I do think that it can compete well with Sprite. I also believe that creating a new drink instead of just trying to recreate the flavor of Sprite will be advantageous. I think with this new drink consumers have a new type of flavor to crave.
Though it is thrilling to see the birth of a new drink, I also suspect that Sierra Mist will be missed like all things that end. I believe that Sierra Mist worked as the perfect substitution for Sprite taste-wise. In that regard, I think that the availability and convenience of Sierra Mist will be missed.