A Maestro of Blockbuster Cola Launches

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Katie Lacey is looking to give Pepsi-Cola an encore performance. As vice president of marketing for colas at PepsiCo's Pepsi-Cola North America, she's steering the launch of the company's newest offering, Pepsi Blue, with hopes of emulating the raging success of another recent Pepsi hit: Mountain Dew Code Red.

Since joining the company in 1993, in addition to rolling out berry-flavor Pepsi Blue and helping introduce the blockbuster Aquafina bottled water nationally, Ms. Lacey has launched or helped launch Pepsi One and Pepsi Twist, as well as restaged Diet Pepsi.

Cola marketing czar
She guides everything from brand strategy to advertising for all the colas, including Wild Cherry Pepsi and Pepsi-Cola (the nation's No. 2 soft drink).

Pre-Ms. Lacey, most of the company's colas weren't setting the world on fire. Now, they're rebounding thanks in part to the November launch of lemon-flavored Pepsi Twist. Unlike many marketers fearful that extensions will dilute their brands, Ms. Lacey, 36, is all for them.

"I'd worked in new products almost my entire time with PepsiCo," she says, "so it doesn't seem to me -- in a world of increasing choices -- that to line-extend and to offer new varieties should be risky."

Marathon runner
A marathoner (New York last year in 4 hours, 15 minutes), Ms. Lacey was Pepsi-Cola's director of sports marketing for two and a half years before taking on colas.

She was appointed to centralize sports marketing among the company's beverages.

The executive expanded Mountain Dew's Nascar sponsorship from a regional to a national effort; launched the first advertising with Major League Baseball; and underscored Pepsi-Cola's baseball sponsorship by signing stars Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa to ads and promotions.

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