Deadsites rages on with its second edition. Today’s website is about old soda and Papa Roach.
No guesses? Fine. Here’s an obnoxiously tall hint:
Yep, we’re about to revisit the official website of PEPSI BLUE, from 2002!
I wrote about this stuff when it was brand new. (I’m old, you see.) I was hard on it, but I was hard on everything back then. Time has softened my perspective, and I can now appreciate the concept of a beverage made to look like electric poison.
Marketed as a “berry cola fusion,” Pepsi Blue was one part seltzer and ten thousand parts liquid Fun Dip. I wasn’t a fan of the flavor, but in retrospect, that had nothing to do with Pepsi Blue. I don’t like weirdo fruity sodas at all, no matter who makes them.
Unless they’re cherry. Cherry gets a pass. Because cherry blends.
Pepsi Blue lasted less than two years in Da States, but not everyone hated it. Those who did probably cared less about what it looked or tasted like, and more about it being called “Pepsi.” The difference was in name alone, but let me put it this way: If Perdue started selling grapes, they’d fail, because nobody would want a bag of grapes with a “Perdue” label on it. Funky blue soda was fine, but they shouldn’t have called it “Pepsi.”
The drink’s inability to become a big deal must have stung, because Pepsi truly gave it their all. The TV commercials were lavish in everything from staging to music licensing, and they even built Pepsi Blue its own unique website, which stood apart from their other products.
Let’s check it out!
Off the bat, I should confess that I couldn’t retrieve all of Pepsi Blue’s ancient website. Certain Shockwave elements did not withstand the test of time, and of course, those are the ones I would’ve wanted the most.
Above is the menu page. I couldn’t access the “Autopalooza” section (damn) or the “Product Info” section (bigger damn), but there was still jusssst enough to keep this edition of Deadsites from tanking worse than Pepsi Blue did.
Nearly half of the site was dedicated to “Chatables,” a long-dead “IMVironment” program. I’m not 100% on this, but I think it let you use talking avatars on AIM or MSN or whatever the hell you used back in 2002.
(While I’m on the subject, you wouldn’t believe how often you’ll find “chat icons” on old promotional websites. You’ll see that gimmick time and time again in future Deadsites posts. No promo site was complete without 25 ways to turn instant messages into tiny billboards.)
That GIF served as a Chatables “demo,” but it looks more like an advertisement to me. It has the right dimensions and everything.
From what I understand, the Pepsi/Chatables connection didn’t end with this website. Apparently, there used to be redemption codes printed inside various Pepsi bottle caps. I guess you redeemed them for exclusive heads?
It took a lot of clicking for me to sort through the Chatables icons. The only set that was still functional was full of baby heads. Since this was the Pepsi Blue site, I was more interested in the three “Blue Crew” sets.
After almost an hour, I finally dug up one of the “Blue Crew” icons. If I ever hop back onto AIM, this will be my new avatar:
The guy from The Cure?
Wearing a blue boa?
With chocolate chip cookies on his shoulder?
I don’t know.
There, take it. But only if you want to be represented by Robert Smith covered in cookies.
Pepsi Blue’s site (and overall marketing campaign, really) had a few themes that felt way more “1990s” than “2000s.” Specifically, Pepsi was convinced that this new brand needed to be married to loud music.
The biggest nuisance in building this article was being constantly assaulted by thumping beats, which played automatically after every other click. It never occurred to me to hit mute, because I’m a masochist or stupid or all three.
Then again, I thought this was kinda neat. A Pepsi Blue Beat Box, including four different stock tracks with sodariffic names.
I archived the Beat Box over here. Give the tracks a listen, and then let’s compare notes.
Track 1 – Blue Revolution. It made me want to watch Crank 2.
Track 2 – Blue Hypnotica. It made me think of cultists covered in dayglo paint.
Track 3 – Blue Vibe. It made me sleepy.
Track 4 – Blue Flame. It made me want to become a pro-wrestler, because I’ve finally found my entrance music.
Yeah, Pepsi Blue was all about the music. Among the brand’s pricier gambles was its relationship with Papa Roach. The only thing I know about Papa Roach is that they performed Nirvana’s “Lithium” at the 2000 MTV New Year’s Eve Bash.
Seriously, that is ALL I know about Papa Roach.
Well, I guess I know one other thing: Papa Roach was crazy for Pepsi Blue. The band’s name was all over the website, and as you can see, I mean that literally. Papa Roach may seem like an odd thing to stick on a soda’s website, but actually, it wasn’t random at all.
See, the group starred in one of Pepsi Blue’s biggest TV ads:
Man, that shit looks expensive. Whatever happened to just rotating soda on a lazy Susan for thirty seconds, while an unseen British man says good things about it? A billion times cheaper, and then you’re not ostracizing people who hate Papa Roach.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Okay, so maybe Pepsi Blue’s site wasn’t a knockout. On the other hand, since I could only access 30% of it, it’s not really fair to say.
Oh yeah. One last thing…
When Pepsi Blue debuted, I was right there with it, blogging my heart out. (Course, we didn’t call it “blogging” back then. We called it “posting.”)
Pepsi Blue brought out the idiot in me. Most things do. Instead of writing a straight-up review, I used a bottle as a plot device in a bizarre Pokemon battle between Ash Ketchum and Skeletor.
I normally avoid drawing attention to my oldest stuff, but this is a special occasion. On the next page, it’s Ash vs. Skeletor: The Battle for Pepsi Blue – originally published in August of 2002!