Pepsi Crystal might return, thanks to superfan's social media campaign
Crystal Pepsi might have more fans now than it ever did in its short existence in the soft drink market.
The clear, caffeine-free cola by Pepsico launched in Canada and the United States in 1992 on the back of a giant promotional campaign, but fizzled out soon afterwards due to flat sales.
Since then it has been seen on multiple 1990s nostalgia lists, joining other retired drinks such as New Coke, Ecto Cooler and OK Soda.
But one man has spearheaded a social media campaign to bring back the crystal clear concoction, prompting Pepsico to respond in a letter that further fuelled hopes of its revival.
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Kevin Strahle, known on YouTube and Twitter as L.A. Beast, can't stop talking about Crystal Pepsi. The competitive eater has a long run of extreme food-related stunts, from attempting to drink dozens of shots of egg nog to eating two dozen ghost peppers. More often than not they end in agony and vomiting.
Strahle's claim to internet fame, however, is a 2013 video where he chugs a 20 year old, two-litre bottle of Crystal Pepsi he acquired from eBay. However, he can't keep it down for long. You can view his YouTube channel here, but we don't recommend watching his videos less than an hour before or after dinner time.
Despite (or thanks to) the gross-out factor, Strahle has gained traction with his campaign to bring back the colour-free soft drink. The hashtag #BringBackCrystalPepsi has been used thousands of times in the last month.
On Monday, Strahle received a letter from Pepsi thanking him and other Pepsi fans, teasing that the clear cola might be in line for a revival.
Just received this from <a href="https://twitter.com/pepsi">@pepsi</a> on twitter a min agoIt is my duty to share it with all of you. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BringBackCrystalPEPSI?src=hash">#BringBackCrystalPEPSI</a> <a href="http://t.co/hyTbH5spbL">pic.twitter.com/hyTbH5spbL</a>—@KevLAbeast
"We definitely hear you and your followers and we think you'll all be happy with what's in store," read the letter with retro letter head. A Pepsico spokeswoman later confirmed the authenticity of the letter to Ad Age.
Strahle's story has spread to news outlets and blogs, even earning him a mention in Jimmy Fallon's monologue on The Tonight Show.
"Pepsi recently hinted it would be bringing back the famous '90s soda Crystal Pepsi..." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FallonTonight?src=hash">#FallonTonight</a> <a href="http://t.co/VInlut2P37">pic.twitter.com/VInlut2P37</a>—@FallonTonight
This isn't the first short-lived product from the '90s to receive a surge in popularity in recent years. In fact, Surge soda, a fruit-flavoured drink made by Coca-Cola, is now available exclusively from Amazon, more than a decade after it was discontinued.
Clearly Canadian, a line of clear fruit-flavoured soft drinks that was popular in the '90s but stopped production in 2010, kick-started itself back into existence thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. Its current owners announced that it received enough orders to begin production in May.