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Pepsi Max (also known as Pepsi Black in some countries) is a low-calorie, sugar-free cola, marketed by PepsiCo as an alternative to their drinks Pepsi and Diet Pepsi. It is sold primarily in European and Asian markets.
Current bottle of Pepsi Black
|Country of origin||Ukraine, United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey, Australia|
|Variants||Pepsi Max Cappuccino, Pepsi Max Twist, Pepsi Max Punch, Pepsi Max Cherry, Pepsi Max Ginger, Pepsi Max Vanilla and Pepsi Max Raspberry.|
|Related products||Pepsi ONE, Diet Pepsi|
A drink with the same name but different formulation (containing ginseng and higher quantities of caffeine) was sold in the United States until it was renamed "Pepsi Zero Sugar" in late 2016.
Pepsi Max debuted in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Italy in April 1993. The rollout was expanded to Ireland the following September, and to France, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands the following December. By the end of 1994, Pepsi Max was sold in approximately twenty countries. By the end of 1995, that figure had more than doubled. The product remained unavailable in the United States until 2006 (the US, PepsiCo's home market, and the largest consumer of carbonated soft drinks), where one of its principal ingredients had not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The ingredient—acesulfame potassium—is combined with aspartame to provide the beverage's sweetness, whereas some other diet colas are sweetened by aspartame alone.
In early-2005, Pepsi Max Twist (with added lemon-lime flavour) joined the UK and Australian product line. In autumn 2005, "Pepsi Max Punch" was marketed in the UK for the festive season. Containing ginger and cinnamon, the product was similar in flavour to Pepsi Holiday Spice, a sugar-sweetened variety of Pepsi that was marketed in the US one year earlier. In late-2005 and early-2006, a coffee-flavoured variety was introduced in France, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and the UK. Known as "Pepsi Max Cappuccino" ("Pepsi Max Coffee Cino" in the UK), the product was prefigured by the similar Pepsi Kona (briefly test-marketed in the US in 1996) and Pepsi Tarik, available in Malaysia since 2005.
Pepsi Max was introduced to South Korea, Bulgaria, and the Philippines in 2006, as well as being reintroduced into Argentina in the spring of 2006 after being phased out after its launch in 1994. As well as this, Pepsi Max was introduced into Brazil, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and the UAE during early 2007.
In October 2008, Pepsi announced it would be redesigning its logo and re-branding many of its products. Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi Max all use lower-case fonts for name brands, Mountain Dew was renamed "Mtn Dew", and Diet Pepsi Max was re-branded as Pepsi Max. The brand's blue and red globe trademark became a series of "smiles", with the central white band arcing at different angles depending on the product. The new imagery is being used. In the case of Pepsi Max, besides renaming of the drink its international name, the logo has a large "smile" likely to emphasize the North American drink's "Wake up people!" advertising campaign, and also uses black in the bottom half of the globe as opposed to the more standard royal blue. The new lower-case font used on Pepsi's products is reminiscent of the font used in Diet Pepsi's logo from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. The website for the "Wake up people!" campaign now redirects to the Pepsi Refresh Project. It is expected that the version of Pepsi Max outside North America will adopt the new logo used by its US–Canada counterpart; this has now occurred in Australia. In the UK, the cans now have the "Pepsi" text and the new Pepsi globe (with the normal Pepsi "smile" and the blue bottom half, as opposed to the black half used in the US) but the "Max" is in the previous style.
A Pepsi Max Lime version was released in the United States in February 2010 under the name "Pepsi Max Cease Fire" It was introduced in the UK in late-2011. It was cross-promoted with a new flavor series of Doritos chips called "3rd Degree Burn". In July 2010, Pepsi began to move its North American branding for Pepsi Max to match its global branding. It now carries a Max typography similar to that used worldwide, and rolled out a new slogan: "Zero Calories. Maximum Pepsi Taste". Its formula has not changed. In May 2011, Pepsi introduced the drink to Spain. In 2016, the drink was introduced to Venezuela. In 2017 Pepsi Max was launched in Costa Rica
In 2017, the drink was reintroduced in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, India, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine as Pepsi Black. As of 2017 it is available as Pepsi Max in Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
Recent UK/Australia Pepsi Max television advertisements have featured the taglines "Maximum taste, no sugar" and "Don't worry, there's no sugar." Some have incorporated extreme sports and video games such as Motocross Mania in an attempt to appeal to young men (in contrast to other diet cola drinks, which tend to target young women). The British advertising campaign involved retouched versions of the American "Do the Dew" commercials for Mountain Dew (A variant of which is sold in the UK ), rebranded as "Live life to the Max".
Coca-Cola Zero, a sugar-free cola from the Coca-Cola Company, is marketed in a similar manner. In the UK some Coke Zero advertising alluded to Pepsi Max, leading to a robust counter-campaign by Pepsi extolling the virtues of the concept of "maximum" over that of "zero."
|Lemon and Lime Twist||Pepsi Max with a lemon and lime flavor. It was sold in the United Kingdom and Argentina for a time and was sold in France under the name Pepsi Max Citron Citron Vert. Pepsi Twist with lemon was also available in Norway in the early 2000s, and is currently available in Poland.|
|Cease Fire||Pepsi Max with a lime flavor. Sold in North America during 2010, and Australia in 2011 which was cross-promoted with limited edition Degree Burn flavors of Doritos. It was later sold in the UK as Pepsi Max Citrus Freeze in 2011, being promoted with Jalapeño Fire Doritos as a part of a promotion. It was later re-released as a permanent flavor in Australia as Pepsi Max Lime, and was later released in France under the same name.|
|Punch||Pepsi Max with a ginger and cinnamon flavor. It was sold in the UK during Christmas 2005 and is similar to the North American Pepsi Holiday Spice which was sold the year before and the year after.|
|Coffee Cino||Pepsi Max with a coffee flavor. It was sold for a short time in some European countries.|
|Cool Lemon||Pepsi Max with a lemon flavor. It is currently being sold in The Netherlands and Belgium.|
|Chill||Pepsi Max with an apple flavor. It was sold in Sweden and Finland as a limited edition in the summer of 2007.|
|Mojo||Pepsi Max with a mint and lime flavor. It was sold in Finland as a limited edition in 2008 and was also sold in Denmark until August 2009 under the name Pepsi Max Mojito.|
|Cherry||Pepsi Max with a cherry flavor. It was first sold in the UK in 2011 and has since become available in Germany, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands. It was also released as Pepsi Max Cherry Blast in the United States in 2015.|
|Ginger||Pepsi Max with ginger flavor. Released in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands in 2017.|
|Vanilla||Pepsi Max with a vanilla flavor. It was first sold in Australia in 2017 and New Zealand in 2018.|
|Raspberry||Pepsi Max with a raspberry flavour. Released in Australia in 2018 and in the United Kingdom in 2019.|
In December 2008, advertisements for Pepsi Max that depicted a cartoon character committing suicide were run in a German lifestyle magazine, which resulted in a scandal and revocation of the ads. One of the three ads featured a bean-shaped character simultaneously shooting himself in the head, with a noose round his neck, and poison in his other hand. The character is supposed to be "one very very very lonely calorie".
Beginning in early 1994, an entirely different Pepsi Max was marketed in Canada. Now regarded as a precursor to Pepsi Edge, it was sweetened with a combination of aspartame and high fructose corn syrup. As a result, it contained two-thirds fewer calories than full-sugar colas (including regular Pepsi), but more calories than conventional diet/light colas (or the version of Pepsi Max sold elsewhere). The Canadian product was discontinued in 2002; the Diet Pepsi Max product introduced in 2008 has no direct relationship to the earlier formulation.
- "Lanzamiento Pepsi Max en Costa Rica". Adondeirhoy.com. 20 November 2017.
- Thomas Grillo (December 4, 2008). "Pepsi kills ads depicting suicide". Boston Herald.
- "BBDO Airs "Suicide" Ads for Pepsi Max — CBS News". Bnet.com. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- Creamer, Matthew (2008-12-02). "Pepsi Opens Vein of Controversy With New Suicide-Themed Ads". Advertising Age. Retrieved 2012-10-22.