Will Driftwell Scalewell?

Today I shared my hot take on Driftwell with the Food Institute. I think it’s the most niche product they’ve ever launched. Yet, that alone doesn’t mean it will fail. 

PepsiCo. Inc.’s PR tease for the Driftwell sleep aid beverage represents the company’s latest new brand creation since Bubly. Launching new trademarks has a very checkered history at public firms. Most of these launches quietly disappear during the first year. Remember Flat Earth? BeaNatural? DanActive? Vault? I could go on and on. The list of new trademarks that public firms have scaled and sustained at nine-figures is terrifyingly short. Digiorno, Activia, Mio, Bubly—line extensions of high awareness brands fare much better.

Pepsi has had one win recently with Bubly. Yet, Bubly emerged from a more traditional innovation process and had full go-to-market privileges within the Pepsi DSD system. Pepsi did exceptionally well at what they do best as an institutional habit: grabbing its fair share of newer market segments with broad appeal and category average unit pricing.

Is Driftwell also poised to become a mass-market beverage?

Well, let’s decompose what we know so far according to the good ‘ole 4Ps and best practices in scaling new brands: price, placement, product, and promotion.

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Dr. James Richardson

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