Pepsi enters the weight-loss game

“Why choose between a hamburger and a slice of pizza? If you choose Pepsi Special, you can have both!” touts Pepsi commercials in Japan promoting their new product, “Pepsi Special.”

If you haven’t heard about this product before, it’s for good reason. Pepsi launched this product for the first time this Tuesday in Japan. Why Japan? Probably because of more lenient beverage laws, unlike that of New York City.

What makes Pepsi Special so special indeed is that it introduces the dietary ingredient, dextrin, that is claimed to reduce the fat absorbed by the body. Depending on what study you look at, the results are somewhat dubious. According to a 2006 study conducted in Japan – yes, dextrin works as described. Studies in the U.S. also agree, but add that its overall effect is considered modest. “In order for dextrin to really absorb enough fat to cause a considerate weight loss, chances are its adverse effects—like frequent diarrhea, gas, and bloating—would be overwhelming.” (1)

While a little dextrin won’t send you running to the nearest bathroom, chances are if you absorb even dextrin for it reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs – which amount to much more Pepsi Special any human should have in a day – you may have to make a pitstop on the commute home. And still, the soda contains high levels of sugar in the form of fructose corn syrup, which makes it just as unhealthy as it was in the past.

Pepsi Special is a step forward with regard to bringing dietary supplements to the mainstream, but is by no means the final piece of the puzzle to help reduce the level of obesity for those who drink soda. As always, the best way to reduce your weight is to eat healthy and exercise.


Apple iOS vs. Android: the facts

The debate rages on regarding which smartphone software is the best. There are only two powerful players in the market worth giving the time of day to, and those are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

As if it were a political election, some companies and their respective fans, mock the others’ views and devices in an effort to propel their own. Android hardware manufacturer, Samsung, which is ironically being sued by Apple for copying its product, is the biggest culprit with their Galaxy commercials. Then there are always the “Apple fanboy” comments, which can be found in most comment sections below Apple/Android articles and even in news sources on the internet. But, let’s put all the bickering aside and focus on the real issues. What really matters is which software is better, and how it interacts with hardware. Here is the analysis:


Android’s software is open source technology that anyone has access to. If you can design/manufacture hardware, you can install Android on your phone – for free. There are caveats to this, but we aren’t going to dig into those details now. Because Android is open source, many, many companies have installed it on their devices and are now selling it to consumers around the world. Samsung, Amazon, Huawei,  Barnes and Noble, Motorola, Google, and HTC are the top Android providers currently.

Since Android is open source technology each of the companies using it have tweaked and configured the software to their liking. This has some benefits, but a major downfall. The upside, the consumer has a little more choice; they can select from several different homepage/UI designs as a result of the tweaks completed by the manufacturers. The downside, what you buy is what you get. As an Android user, you are not guaranteed access to the major upgrades of the software which means you do not get new features, and in some cases new apps. Reason being, although the “foundation” of all these Android products is the same, the tweaking has literally turned them into different versions that are no longer on an ever-green platform. Android is slowly but surely moving towards the Apple iOS strategy of uniform updates for all devices, but this will likely take a couple of years. Also, because Android is open source it means it is more vulnerable to malware attacks.


Android is not responsible for launching new phones. This is strictly up to the manufacturers’ discretion. And since more companies use the Android software, Android phones are popping up like weeds in a garden. The new phones attempt, and sometimes succeed at pushing innovation further. For instance, Android powered devices were the first to support 4G LTE. This is excellent in theory, but when the sun goes down, the quality of Android devices will always be a hit or miss. Some phones (namely the Samsung Galaxy SIII) make your mouth drool with excitement, but others phones have significant issues or lack or support.



Apple’s iOS is proprietary software that is locked down, which makes it very secure – yet less configurable. Apple has very strict policies on what applications they will allow into their app store.

Apple’s technology, while not being the most widely used, is the most popular software for developers to create content for. Why? Because developers can easily make their apps backwards compatible, meaning most apps are available to just about 100% of people that use iProducts (iPod, iPhone, and iPad). That means a massive market to buy the apps, which means more money for the developers, and also better apps for iPhone users. While the iOS is locked down, there are few limits to what developers can do or include in their apps – namely porn, malware, and illegal streaming of information.

Apple releases 2-3 major software updates a year to keep their products fresh, and these updates are typically available to most Apple devices, if not all.


Since the first iPhone was released in June of 2007, Apple has released an average of one per year. Their hardware technology has always been top notch as well as reliable. Until the release of the Samsung Galaxy SIII (released in summer of 2012), no screen could match that of the iPhone with regards to clarity and quality. Apple’s strategy towards hardware is to focus on a few essential elements for their phones, and make them perfect.

They have succeeded at being ahead of the curve, but only where it matters. An example of this is support for 4G LTE. The lack of LTE in iPhones has been a point competitors won’t let go of. But why did Apple not include LTE in their phones? Well, because their market research – which was right – helped them understand that a better camera or faster phone is far more important than LTE. Yes, LTE is faster but you can already stream Netflix and YouTube on 3G with little to no buffer. Apple’s iPhone 5 will support LTE.



As a result of the different software strategies pursued by Apple and Android, 80% of Apple iOS users are on the latest software available, compared to 4% of Android users.

Who wins this battle? Apple. As phones are supposed to last two years (per most contracts) your phone should be able to last that long without its software being overly outdated. To date, Android cannot provide this, minus a several phones (out of the hundreds of Android phones and devices available).


For this battle, Apple wins by a slim margin. While more Android operated phones are released at a quicker pace, the uncertainty of the product compared to the high reliability of iPhones trumps the advantage of more devices. It is important to mention that Apple’s iPhone 4 had a serious issue with reception when held a certain way which was resolved in a completely unorthodox matter, traditional to that of Steve Jobs. Regardless, Apple’s products have consistently been more reliable.

iPhone 5: Must-haves

Whether you love or hate Apple, you are waiting for the iPhone 5 to launch.

There is much buzz building around the new phone, that it sometimes seems more important, and worthwhile than the upcoming presidential election in America. Each week, new national headline stories emerge and contemplate leaked iPhone 5 information: “Bigger screen”, “faster processor”, “curved body” – each article speculates another theory. While speculation is entertaining, the more important question we should be asking is: “What do we WANT in the iPhone 5?

There are certainly some changes we would like to see in the new phone, and here are the top 5:

#5: Better GPS


Probability: Definitely
Apple, it’s time for turn-by-turn navigation. And we know you know this, because Maps in the new iPhone is “taking a whole new turn”. With the iPhone 5 (and iOS 6) Maps will provide turn-by-turn spoken directions, interactive 3D views, and a cool, but unnecessary Flyover feature. Miss a turn? No problem, Maps automatically reroutes you and updates your ETA.. Stuck in traffic? Maps gives you details on what’s causing a backup, so you can tell if there’s a major incident or just a temporary slowdown. And if traffic’s a mess, Maps offers alternative routes to save you time.

#4: Improved Siri:



Probability: Definitely
Although Siri is extremely helpful with many things, including letting you which bridges are close by in case you want to go for a jump, or informing you of the closest dumpsters in the area to dump bodies, there are many vital tasks it cannot help complete. For instance, Siri currently cannot set multiple alarms, launch apps, or provide detailed information about currents events – including sports, movies, and restaurant details. With the new iPhone, Siri will be a lot smarter, and just as knowledgeable as it is intuitive.

#3: Better battery life



Probability: Unlikely
Better battery life is a dream for anyone with a smartphone. Actually, better battery life is a dream for most people on the planet. Better batteries in cars, in homes, in our appliances, laptops, and so forth would significantly improve our lives and decrease our waste. Unfortunately, better battery life in the iPhone 5 is unlikely to happen. With the new iOS 6 software coupled with a more powerful phone, it’s going to be a miracle for Apple to improve the battery life by any significant degree.

#2: Bigger screen

Probability: Very likely
The iPhone 4 and 4S’s screens are 3.5 inches, and that was great for 2011. But bigger, to a certain point, is better. Some of the phones that are available now look silly when held up to an ear, while others have had good success with a screen size of 4.5 inches. The bigger screen, the better the improvements will be to the operating system, and design of the phone. More screen means less wasted space, (especially at the top/bottom) and an improved keyboard, hopefully a better number pad.

#1: Slick, new design

Probability: Unknown, but required
Even if Siri could make you breakfast and file your taxes, if Apple doesn’t introduce a slick, new design with the iPhone 5 – the world will turn on Apple. As a company, they have raised the bar for hardware simplicity and elegance, and we expect nothing less of them with the iPhone 5. Curved phone, flexible screen, double-sided touch capabilities – whatever is it, it better be the coolest thing to hit the planet since the ice age.

Those were the top 5 must-haves, and below is a list of nice to haves:

Nice to haves:

  • Contacts: recently added
    • When you add a new contact into your iPhone – there isn’t a way to view these items by “Recently Added”. This functionality would be great as a typical user is frequently adding contacts into their iPhone.
  • Better text options:
    • Would be great to change default text color/font.
  • Better mail options:
    • For those of us that have our personal and work emails on our iPhones, having the ability to create unique signatures for each would be great. Also, instead of having to tap each email I want to select in the “Edit” view of Mail, it would be great to “tap and drag” to select the emails I want to edit.
  • Improved notifications:
    • Be able to do more from the notifications tab (delete emails, better search).
    • Notification tab doesn’t block the top of the phone, but instead – “pushes” the current screen down. It is extremely frustrating to wait for the notifications to disappear before being able to use the navigation items at the top of the phone.

Although we are several months from the release of iPhone 5 and iOS 6, you can still see a preview of some of the new and awesome iOS 6 features. Click below:

YouTube: Suggestion for Better User Experience

Dear YouTube,

Can you please make the following enhancement on your site to enhance the user experience: add the likes/dislikes overview onto any page that lists a summary of videos. The likes/dislikes are currently only visible on individual video pages and they should be available site wide. Like this:

There are billions and billions of videos on YouTube, and many of them are worth watching while others are as big of a waste of time as discussing peace in the Middle East.

Plus, this feature is already available on the iPhone:




New Product: Kleenex Hand Towels

When your company’s products have saturated a market and your revenue streams have stabilized, your stockbrokers will not be happy – and your company will cease to grow. I’m not sure which one is worse…. pissed off investors, or a lack of growth in your company. 

If a company is in this position, there are three things it can do to help satisfy growth margins and investors:

(1) Go global with existing products to increase sales.
(2) Increase price of existing products.
(3) Develop a new product and enter a new market.


The case of Kleenex Hand Towels

Although we won’t know for sure without analyzing Kleenex’s financial statements, I assume the company’s sales have not seen much growth in the  last few years. Let’s analyze the three options Kleenex has that are listed above:

(1) Go global with existing products to increase sales.

The tissue market is saturated all over the world. For Kleenex to enter a new country with established competitors while they barely have any branding or awareness would be very expensive and most likely a suicide mission.

(2) Increase price of existing products.

Being very competitive as it already is, with generic tissue brands such as CVS, other pharmacies and supermarkets already undercutting Kleenex’s profits with low prices, Kleenex would give competitors another advantage by raising pricing. This option is also out the window.

(3) Develop a new product and enter a new market.

The only option left is for Kleenex to create a new product, expand their product line, and enter a new market. Welcome Kleenex Hand Towels! This new product has gone where no tissue box has ever before; it has replaced the hand towel in the bathroom.

Will this work?

No it won’t. The Hand Towels product is definitely not the golden key Kleenex is looking for. The tissue box (can be viewed in the TV ad below) has a rigid shape and will not fit all bathrooms. Also, trying to change the habit of households for a product that really isn’t necessary anyways is a tough sell. Let’s not forget about all the waste this will produce. If you have a family, in one day you can fill up your trash can with Kleenex Hand Towels.


The marketing engine for this product is pretty good. It is attempting to educate consumers on how dirty bathroom hand towels are, and if they want to remove germs from their home, to switch to the Kleenex product. But in reality, you wash your hands with water and soap after using the bathroom. So you are simply drying clean to very clean hands. Finally, in a “normal” household, I assume the hand towel will be replaced every week or two. Based on this, I expect to see this product in the “FAIL” category within a few months.

Kleenex Hand Towels ad below: 

FAIL: Polar Bear Coke cans

The special polar bear Coke can

Traditional Diet Coke can

Can you tell the difference between the new Polar Bear Coke new and a traditional diet Coke can? On your very nice monitor, probably – but in real life, you don’t realize it until you have already opened the can.

Coke’s decision to change the color of its best selling can from red to white/silver is nominated for one of the biggest marketing fails of 2011.

There is no logic in changing the look and feel of a successful and established product, for any product, in any industry. An organization would be hurting no one but themselves and for the second time in Coke’s history – they had to learn the hard way.

It is admirable that Coke decides to support animals, in this case the biggest predators in the Arctic, polar bears. I’m just saying – why not penguins? Penguins at least don’t kill people…

Coke could have changed the look of their cans with success if they created and implemented the right marketing campaign.

What should Coke have done?

It’s always great to launch a campaign, especially in a B2C market around the holidays. The timing of Coke’s launch was perfect, considering Pepsi did not invest in a major, visible winter campaign this year. But their marketing strategy was off point. They butchered their best selling product by completing changing how it looks, and frustrating customers who now had to think twice before opening any Coke can.

What Coke should have done is keep the traditional red color of the Coke can, and simply add polar bears onto the can. Furthermore, to entice consumers to purchase more cans, make them feel positive emotion when they see the Coke can or box. How should they have done this? A quick solution is to put a Santa hat on the polar bears. Or make the polar bears smile. In reality, a polar bear, or any bear, will eat you alive. But what’s cuter than a smiling bear wearing a Santa hat during the holiday season?

See Coke, it wasn’t that hard.

FAIL: Gatorade G Series: Prime 01

The Gatorade Prime 01 product is one of the most unsanitary products on the market today. Regardless of what the product does, and how well it actually works – the way this product has to be consumed is what makes it unsanitary.

In today’s world, when you buy a beverage from a market it typically comes with a cap. One of the major purposes of the cap is to keep the area of the bottle that enters your mouth, the most susceptible part of the human body to catch diseases, clean. An alternative to a cap is what a juice box supplies you with, a straw that is concealed in plastic until it is used; all for the sake of being clean.

The Gatorade Prime 01 product does not have a cap, or a straw – instead, the same part of the product that must enter your mouth, is the part that is exposed to the air, to the cleanliness of the truck or wrapping they are delivered in, or even the hands of the person packaging it on the shelf.  Prime 01 is consumed by tearing the malleable bottle at the dotted line, and then sticking it in your mouth.

Why did Gatorade do this?

I expect that Gatorade did this because of the location that Prime 01 appears in markets, which is in the same area at the rest of the beverages. There is only 4 oz. of liquid in each Prime package, compared to the 17 oz. in a “standard” bottle, so fitting it in smaller, 4 oz. bottle may cause Gatorade to keep this product separated from the rest of the beverages, or cost Gatorade extra to create special promotion displays near the beverage section.

What can Gatorade do to fix this?

Easy, put a cap, or straw on it. Even a piece of plastic that peels off will work as well. The third option is best, since a cap would be quite expensive on bottles such as those and annoying as the material for the bottles is too malleable, and a straw may not be “manly” enough to maintain Gatorade’s branding in the sports world.

Wake up Gatorade! Fix your product!