This is the fifth straight year of PepsiCo's halftime
sponsorship. But 2017 marks the first time in that period that the
marketer has not emphasized its flagship full-calorie Pepsi variety
in an ad or halftime sponsorship.
The decision comes as the soda industry continues to be targeted
by health advocates.
"We're particularly proud to promote two zero-calorie products
– Lifewtr and Pepsi Zero Sugar – during such a
high-profile event as we continue to transform our product lineup
to offer beverage choices for every consumer lifestyle and
occasion," Seth Kaufman, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo North
America Beverages, said in a statement.
Commenting on PepsiCo's Super Bowl plans, Beverage Digest
Executive Editor Duane Stanford stated in an email that "PepsiCo
needs to catch up on the premium bottled water trend and there are
few better ways to get attention fast than with this country's
most-watched sporting event. While full-calorie drinks like
Pepsi-Cola are profitable and important to the bottom line, they
are losing yardage to a host of new beverages capturing the
attention of a growing number of consumers from adventurous
millennials to health-conscious boomers."
PepsiCo announced Lifewtr in December. It is promoted as "pH
balanced with electrolytes added for taste." Labels feature
rotating designs created by emerging artists. The brand will be
playing catch-up to Coca-Cola's Smartwater, which controls 45% of
the U.S. premium bottled water market by volume, according to
estimates provided late last year by Beverage Digest.