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April 2007

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Darren Rovell's books

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« Is Wade Drinking Too Much Gatorade? | Main | Behind Victory Orange »

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Todd Charske

When I was young ( I sound like my father) that's all they sound. I hate to say it Gatorade but who cares!

Pepsi should worry about VITAMIN WATER (SEE PRESS RELEASE)

Pepsi is getting their ass kicked by Glaceau Vitamin Water. Today they kicked Pepsi's ass in court see press release

FLASH! Pepsi Agrees to Redo SoBe Life Water Label
No surprise to anyone who witnessed judge's scathing remarks in NYC courtroom on Tues: PepsiCo has folded its hand and agreed to redo label of newly launched SoBe Life Water to avoid confusion with Glaceau's segment leader, Vitaminwater.

As reported (BBI, May 2), at Tues hearing in US District Court for Southern District, Judge Shira Scheindlin seemed to completely buy into Glaceau argument that Pepsi chose Life Water design solely for purposes of confusing consumers at retail. What particularly seemed to draw her ire was 2-tone label design with one panel white and other the same color as the liquid of particular flavor. Judge agreed that photos of retail displays presented by Glaceau showed the 2 brands to be indistinguishable from a distance, a problem she was only partly willing to attribute to her weak middle-aged eyes. She said she would withhold ruling on Glaceau's request for temporary restraining order until Wed noon to give the 2 cos a chance to work out a compromise; the cos returned to courthouse to meet with the judge on Thurs morning and, after a day of negotiations, settled details of resolution.

Both Glaceau and Pepsi reps characterized the settlement as amicable and said they could not disclose any details, including whether Pepsi was to pay Glaceau any damages or court costs. A Pepsi rep did confirm, however, that Pepsi would be allowed to deplete Life Water inventory already on retail shelves, as the judge had suggested from the bench in urging a settlement on Tues.

Resolution is clearly embarrassment for PepsiCo, which has ridden reputation as innovator to market cap exceeding Coke's. It also tars SoBe brand that once stood for edgy innovation and marketing, but has fallen into innovation drought since acquisition by Pepsi. In statement, Glaceau ceo Darius Bikoff said: "We respect that Pepsi agreed to change Life Water's trade dress. This reaffirms that imitation is no substitute for innovation." Glaceau's distributors had mixed reaction to outcome, expressing jubilation that blatant copycat effort had been beaten back, but also worrying that the sharp reversal may prompt PepsiCo to renew more aggressively its courtship of Glaceau. As reported, Glaceau's legal filings indicated that Pepsi had offered to buy co in Jan and, according to remarks by Glaceau atty in court, only seems to have adopted more aggressively imitative label design after being rebuffed. No price has been disclosed, if discussions reached that point. But with blatant-knockoff strategy dead in water now, distribs have to worry whether Pepsi won't simply sweeten bid and try to bring the real innovator into the fold. Go To Top

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