Pepsi Throwback: Vomitive Sub-brand Naming

By Mark Skoultchi

February 9, 2010

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Pepsi and Mountain Dew have launched sub-brands made with real sugar. Pretty cool idea, if you ask me. I would choose real sugar over high fructose corn syrup any day. (Well, I’d choose Splenda, then sugar, then corn syrup, in that order.)

I applaud PepsiCo for the move. I even like the old-timey cans in which they launched the new (old?) drink. But what is up with the sub-brand name Throwback?

Throwbacks are not good things. In biology a throwback is an organism that has the characteristics of a more primitive type of that organism. More primitive. Nice one, Pepsi.

What’s more, doesn’t Throwback sort of take you to throw up? It’s the first thing I thought of. I know, let’s launch a new flavor profile and associate it with vomiting. That’ll get people to buy it. Mmm Mmm Mmm.

There are plenty of good words to connote a taste of the old. They even use one in their ad copy: Pepsi Retro. Or what about Pepsi Originals, or Pepsi Nostalgia. Pepsi Natural. Pepsi 60 (1960s). Pepsi Dejavu. Pepsi REfresh. Pepsi Legacy, Pepsi ReGen. I could go on, but clearly PepsiCo isn’t listening to naming professionals with a sense of taste.

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