In the ’80s, Slice had a solid hold on the fruit juice-flavored soft drink market thanks to a healthy amount of marketing from PepsiCo. As the years went on, jockeying for soft drink supremacy against the heavy-hitting Sprite and 7-Ups of the world proved to be too much, and by 2009, the drink that bolstered “10% real juice” on the can was exclusively on the shelves of Wal-Mart. From there, it died a quiet death. The cans were so sparse and hard to find you couldn’t even pour a Slice out for Slice.
At least people were spared from their late-stage, gross-out commercials:
Now, Chicago entrepreneur Mark Thomann has bought up the trademark rights and plans on relaunching Slice as a low-calorie, low-sugar alternative. On its face, it’s a move that’s in line with what PepsiCo is doing, launching a new sparkling water brand called Bubly, or Coca-Cola’s fruity Diet Cokes. It’s all in an effort to win back market share from the sparkling water takeover that has dominated the industry over the last few years.
But as “fizz” enthusiasts call it, this is “snake.” Low-calorie” and “low-sugar” isn’t “no calorie” and “no sugar.” Still, Thomann believes that even against the big brands, like La Croix (or Coke), Slice will be worth $100 million in five years. Glenn Backus, managing partner of Revolution Brands, which is behind the Slice relaunch, had thoughts on where Slice would fit in the overall scheme of fizzy, flavored water.
“I think there’s an opportunity to have something more palatable (than most flavored waters),” he said. Raising the eyebrows of Polar Seltzer enthusiasts across the country.
Ultimately, the goal is for them to build up the brand then sell it back to Coke or Pepsi. Joe Gioconda, the company’s lawyer, laughed as he said: “Frankly, Coke and Pepsi could get into a bidding war if they want.” Meanwhile, there hasn’t really been a good reason stated for bringing back the brand, or for anyone to drink it.
(Via The Chicago Tribune)