NEW YORK -- Diet Pepsi is sending a valentine to soda lovers, now that the soft drink's staying power has been improved with a new sweetener.
Starting at the end of January, PepsiCo Inc. will begin TV ads with the tag line "Love Every Sip," along with the rollout of special edition silver cans featuring the blue-and-red Pepsi logo in a heart shape. The company is working with designers to introduce other special designs later in the year as well.
The push to reinvigorate the brand comes after PepsiCo quietly added another artificial sweetener to Diet Pepsi to help stabilize the taste of the drink. In addition to aspartame, the company says Diet Pepsi will now include a "very small amount" of a sweetener called acesulfame potassium to help the taste maintain its potency over time. The ingredient, also known as ace-K, is often used in conjunction with other artificial sweeteners and can be found in a wide array of food and newer diet sodas.
The company says the overall taste of Diet Pepsi won't change.
PepsiCo is trying to bolster its flagship soda brands. The company, based in Purchase, N.Y., has been pouring more money into advertising after losing market share to Coca-Cola Co. in recent years. With regular Pepsi, which comes in deep blue cans, it recently signed a wide-ranging deal with singer Beyonce as well as a five-year deal to sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show.
The two new TV spots for Diet Pepsi will take place at a wedding and a cafe and star "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara, who the company first partnered with last year. As with the current ads, they'll play on theme that Vergara is expressing desire for a love interest, when in fact she's lusting after Diet Pepsi.
The ads, which were developed by the agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, are intended to appeal primarily to women -- the target customers for Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke. This fall, Diet Coke also adopted a new look designed to fit in with "fashionistas' fridges." The logo began as a special edition can last year and is now the permanent packaging in the U.S.
For now, Diet Pepsi says the look of its can will remain the same after the special edition cans featuring the heart logos run their course.
PepsiCo isn't disclosing how much it's spending on marketing for Diet Pepsi in 2013, but company spokeswoman Andrea Foote said it's more than what it has spent in the past few years. Foote also noted that the company's continued partnership with Vergara shows the ads are resonating with customers.