Updated from March 1, 2015 with news about Crystal Pepsi's return.
There were no social media outlets such as Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) back in the early 1990s to discuss a new, clear soda being released by cola king PepsiCo (PEP) .
But now, the since-discontinued Crystal Pepsi, with its cult social media following, is poised to make a splash on today's social scene. On Tuesday, PepsiCo announced a contest that will award 13,000 Crystal Pepsi fans a six-pack of the notorious clear soda. The only way to sign up for the sweepstakes, to be held on December 10 and 11, will be via the Pepsi Pass app.
Each 16 oz. plastic bottle of Crystal Pepsi will boast 200 calories and 55 grams of sugar, similar to a standard bottle of Pepsi brown cola. While the taste profile of the latest iteration of Crystal Pepsi will be the same as the original, it will have a little more caffeine, according to PepsiCo marketing director Linda Lagos.
"There has been a big movement on social media the past year to bring Crystal Pepsi back," explained Lagos, adding that the product's re-release hopes to tap into an interest in certain items from the 1990s. Lagos declined to say if Crystal Pepsi would be available nationwide in 2016.
Crystal Pepsi initially debuted in select U.S. markets in April 1992, then went nationwide in 1993. Its release marked the start of the clear cola wars -- in December 1992, rival Coca-Cola (KO) launched a clear version of Tab cola. Sales fizzled out quickly, however, and Crystal Pepsi was subsequently pulled from the market in 1994.
Ironically, the limited return of Crystal Pepsi arrives as consumers gravitate toward another clear carbonated liquid, albeit one that's sugar-free and zero-calorie -- namely, flavored sparkling waters. The sparkling water category in the U.S. saw its sales surge 16.2% to more than $1.4 billion for the 52 weeks ending July 12, according to the latest data from IRI.
Meanwhile, the initial buzz surrounding Crystal Pepsi's second act begs the question: to spur a little growth, why don't some of the world's biggest food companies pay a visit their archive rooms?
The list of discontinued products from major food companies is almost endless. Remember black cherry vanilla flavored Coca-Cola? Or how about the Whaler, a giant, fried fish sandwich from Burger King (part of Restaurant Brands International (QSR) ) used to make?
For whatever reason, products such as these, with plenty of research hours and marketing dollars behind them, were discontinued. But that doesn't mean they deserve to be permanently left for dead in their original form or not spruced up to meet current consumer eating preferences and then relaunched with a marketing blitz.
McDonald's did just that by bringing back Chicken Selects earlier this year. Execs at Nike (NKE) must have also gotten the memo, having created a major buzz on Facebook in March by announcing it was bringing back a pop culture favorite, the Nike Cortez. The shoe was designed in 1972 by Nike founder Bill Bowerman, and was famously worn by Tom Hanks in the movie Forrest Gump.
TheStreet takes a look at three items that some other consumer giants should consider resurrecting this year.