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Pepsi is using the Super Bowl to spotlight seltzer

Posted at 10:02 AM, Feb 01, 2019

PepsiCo wants more people to know that it sells seltzer.

The company has been expanding its portfolio of healthy foods and drinks as consumers clamor for low-calorie, sugar-free options. Bubly, the LaCroix competitor PepsiCo launched last year, has helped PepsiCo capitalize on the health trend.

The seltzer, which has no calories or sweeteners and comes in flavors like apple, lime and grapefruit, is "a home run," said Greg Lyons, CMO of Pepsi Beverages North America. PepsiCo has already sold more than $100 million worth of Bubly products, he said.

But not enough people know about it. A Super Bowl commercial could change that.

"Only 20% of US households know that Bubly exists," Lyons told CNN Business. The "Super Bowl is a great platform for us to really spike and drive up the awareness."

PepsiCo ( PEP ) tapped Michael Bublé for the commercial, which shows the singer replacing Bubly's "y" with an "é" on a number of cans. Comedian Aparna Nancherla is also in the ad.

Using the Super Bowl to showcase a new brand is something PepsiCo has done before. Two years ago, PepsiCo aired a commercial featuring music by John Legend to promote its LIFEWTR, bottled water that competes with Coca-Cola's Glaceau Smartwater. PepsiCo saw "a spike in awareness" among consumers from the commercial, Lyons said.

Sparkling water is "an important category because it's catching on, but at the same time there's a huge number of households that haven't yet adopted a sparkling water habit," said Duane Stanford, executive editor of Beverage Digest. Last year, PepsiCo bought seltzer brand SodaStream for $3.2 billion.

In June, PepsiCo unveiled Gatorade Zero , the first sugarless version of sports drink.

The company is also running ads for Doritos and Pepsi cola, and has put up hundreds of ads in Atlanta, where Sunday's game will be played, and where rival Coca-Cola ( KO ) is based.