Apprentice
The Pepsi Challenged

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The [Pepsi] Edge of Reason

When Andy opens the door to the large presentation room, he gives an entirely too dorky grin, in which he looks exactly like someone I went to high school with, but I can't think of who it is. Andy opens with a grand speech about how the entire soft-drink world is split between diet and regular, and there are 60 million "dual users" who drink both diet and regular pop. (Yeah, I'm from the Midwest. Shut up, with your "soda.") Andy claims that these "dual users" are people "who have been forgotten about." Uh...I don't feel all that forgotten, and I drink both, at least sometimes. Besides, if you're going after an existing market that's already drinking diet and regular, what do you gain by moving them to half-and-half? Just wondering. Anyway, Andy unveils their bottle, which is accompanied by a cymbal crash and then a honking bassoon, and you know those are not positive soundtrack cues. Hmm, how to describe the Mosaic Pepsi bottle...okay. Imagine you take a regular 20-ounce plastic Pepsi bottle, and you give the bottom and the top some condition that makes them become distended like a diseased belly. So they're just kind of round and ugly -- but the middle part is still nice and straight. You've got to make the ends big in your head to get the effect -- they're like half-grapefruits, about. And if you can make the ends that swollen, I don't see how it's possible to argue you couldn't have just made a round damn bottle. Andy calls the product "the best of both worlds," as planned, but it just doesn't have the same gravity when accompanied by a bassoon. Furthermore, this "worlds" theme has been extended to the labeling of the bottle, and the fact that both the bottom grapefruit half and the top one are covered in labels that make them look like half-globes. As you can imagine, a bottle built this way -- with a half-sphere as a bottom -- won't even stand up, so it's got...no, really...a little stand on the bottom that it can rest on. Are you joking? The round globe idea was too inconvenient, but you can tack a plastic stand to the bottom of a pop bottle? Now that is embarrassing.

Oh, and the topper is that the cap is a "navigational cap," which has a real compass in it. Because you know how the kids are into all that orienteering.

Sandy goes up to explain about the game they're going to offer, and she tells about how people can win "trips to the Edge," but she stumbles over about every fourth word. She's just nervous, I think, but it's pretty uncomfortable. Andy complains in an interview that Sandy was unable to get the wording quite right on the game, and it hurt the presentation. Jen then explains an in-store promotion that will involve a Pepsi globe display filled with Pepsi Edge. Mercifully, this very bad presentation comes to an end, and Mosaic is allowed to leave. I think the marketing people just rolled their collective eyes so hard they affected nearby tides.

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