October 03, 2017
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PepsiCo Using Super Bowl to Launch New Premium Water Brand

By Tim Baysinger (Reuters)

PepsiCo said on Tuesday it will use its pricey spot during next month’s Super Bowl to unveil a premium bottled water brand, Lifewtr, as the beverage industry faces declining consumption of sugary sodas.

Fox, which will broadcast the game in the United States, has been commanding $5 million from advertisers for a 30-second commercial, according to Fox Sports President Eric Shanks. The Super Bowl, to be played on Feb. 5, is expected to draw more than 100 million viewers.

PepsiCo did not reveal how much it was spending on the 30-second spot, which will be the new brand’s first television commercial.

Water has become a key category for soda companies facing declining sales of their namesake beverages, as consumers try to reduce their intake of calories and sugar. Lifewtr aims to compete with Coca-Cola Co’s Smartwater in the lucrative premium water market.

The commercial, which features music by Grammy-winning artist John Legend, is linked to Lifewtr’s official release in stores on Feb. 1.

“Bottled water will be a bigger category than soda,” Seth Kaufman, chief marketing officer, PepsiCo North America Beverages, told Reuters. “Consumers are moving to water at an unprecedented clip.”

Sales of bottled water have more than doubled in volume since 2004, from 1.8 billion cases to almost 4 billion in 2015, according to Beverage Digest data. While carbonated beverages still represent the majority of beverage companies’ sales, per capita consumption hit a 30-year low in 2015.

This year's Super Bowl advertising plans represent a bit of a departure for PepsiCo, which in the past has run multiple spots for its major brands. Last year PepsiCo ran spots for Mountain Dew and its namesake soft drink, as well as the edition of Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, which placed a viewer-made ad in the game.

Outside of brief ads promoting the halftime show, for which PepsiCo is the title sponsor, Lifewtr is the only brand getting an actual commercial during the Super Bowl.

(Reporting by Tim Baysinger; Additional reporting by Chris Prentice in New York; Editing by Anna Driver and Leslie Adler)