Pepsi-Cola Co. is making an old man out of basketball star Shaquille O'Neal for commercials that will trumpet the national rollout of its sports drink, All Sport.
The rollout will be backed with an ad later this month featuring O'Neal playing "Grandpa Shaq", humorously reminiscing years from now about how the game of basketball has changed since he played and All Sport was introduced.
Pepsi also confirmed Monday it has reformulated and renamed the clear cola Crystal Pepsi, which fell short of its sales expectations in its first year.
It has added a citrus flavor to the cola, shortened its name to Crystal and simply notes on the package it is "from the makers of Pepsi."
"We wanted to reinforce that Crystal is a completely different formula and brand than Pepsi-Cola," Pepsi spokeswoman Amy Sherwood said.
The Somers, N.Y.-based Pepsi has been testing All Sport since the summer of 1991, and it has recently been available in about 20 percent of the country.
The sports drink category, aimed at quenching active people's thirsts, has been dominated for years by Gatorade from Quaker Oats Co. But the category has attracted increased interest as growth in the cola business has slowed and consumers have shown an interest in non-traditional drinks like teas, fruit drinks and flavored waters.
Some analysts say the major soft-drink makers want to have entries in every significant category of the business rather than concede them to smaller companies like Snapple.