The Real Reason Pepsi A.M. Disappeared

Every company that's been around for long enough has had to deal with a product introduction that didn't go over as planned. For Coca-Cola, it was the infamous New Coke product launch and to a lesser extent, the introduction of Dasani water to the British market, which flopped for a number of reasons (via The Daily Meal). For Coca-Cola's main competitor, Pepsi, one of their most memorable product failures was that of Pepsi A.M., introduced in the late 1980s, which was a new type of cola beverage intended to be consumed in the morning — hence the A.M. (via CBS News).

Pepsi presumed that because the consumption of coffee had decreased in the 1980s, customers would be looking for an alternative beverage to get them their caffeine fix in the morning. The number of cups of coffee tipped back per person in 1989 was just 1.75, down from its peak at 3.12 cups a few decades prior in 1962 (via AP News).

Pepsi A.M. flops

Pepsi was also looking to capitalize on the fact that soda consumption, especially in the mornings, was up. The percentage of soft drinks guzzled in the morning went up from 10 percent to 15 percent of all soft drink sales over the course of a decade. So Pepsi introduced their A.M. formula, which had some 25 percent caffeine more than regular Pepsi. The drink also came in a 1-calorie diet variety. However, some taste testers said that they believed the beverage tasted flat.

On top of that, the name suggested that it was only meant to be enjoyed in the mornings, so the company certainly wasn't selling much of the beverage to the afternoon or evening soda drinking crowd.

While it seemed that the new drink would be a slam dunk, market-wise, it unfortunately did not translate to a success for Pepsi A.M., and the product was discontinued by the fall of 1990.