Pepsi is coy, but the message is crystal clear: the popular 1990s clear soda Crystal Pepsi may be coming back.
One person is largely responsible for the comeback, too: Kevin Strahle.
Strahle is a professional competitive eater and YouTuber. He found his success on YouTube in 2013 with a video of him drinking a 20-year-old Crystal Pepsi. The video has more than 11 million views.
Since then, he’s become the leader of the Bring Back Crystal Pepsi campaign — which consists of a petition with more than 33,700 signatures, a #BringBackCrystalPepsi hashtag with over 6,500 tweets, tons of calls to Pepsi’s customer service line, thousands of comments to #BringBackCrystalPepsi on any photo the company posts to its Instagram and finally, 15 billboards around Los Angeles calling for Pepsi to bring the clear soda back.
It’s all culminating this coming Monday, June 15 when Strahle will drive a mobile billboard to Pepsi headquarters in Purchase, New York and host a fan meet-up outside.
It’s unclear what Pepsi thinks about the elaborate campaign as they’ve not responded to multiple requests for comment from the media, but Strahle tweeted a letter yesterday that he said the company sent him hinting at the soda’s return.
“We definitely hear you and your followers and we think you’ll all be happy with what’s in store,” the letter said.
Strahle credited the success to the fans’ persistence.
“We all have a passion, and we just want to see Crystal Pepsi come back and share the joy, that’s all,” he told ABC News. “We’re not threatening Pepsi, we’re just working with them for the greater goal.”
The letter is the only communication he said he’s had from the company, though, despite dozens of emails to the company president and tweets to the official Pepsi account. Pepsi has not even acknowledged that he’s coming to headquarters on Monday.
“I’ve made that clear in multiple emails and multiple phone calls with customer service, so I’d assume they know I’m coming,” Strahle said.
Ready or not, Strahle intends to keep bombarding the company until the ultimate goal is reached.
“It’s been 20 to 23 years since I’ve had it last, but I would say it tastes like 1,000 magical fairies gently scrubbing your tongue with churros from Six Flags Great Adventure. It tastes like awesomeness in your mouth,” he said. “It’s sweet, sugary. It’s a nice, refreshing drink. Ice cold on a summer’s day, your thirst would be quenched for sure.”
It’s not that far-fetched to think his campaign could work — in the past few months, Crispy M&M’s, Burger King’s chicken fries, Surge and more have all made a comeback directly thanks to fan-led campaigns.