PepsiCo will bring into production a drink to help people ease stress and sleep better during These Uncertain Times, the company announced today. They’ve decided to name this “enhanced water beverage” Driftwell.
While my colleague Matt Novak described the name as indicative of “the dystopia we were promised,” I find it uninspiring—a sort of over-focus-grouped concoction of the equally bland product lines Madewell and Spindrift (one of which is already a beverage.)
Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, the “enhanced” portion of Driftwell is accounted for by L-theanine and magnesium... and also whatever they use to make it taste like blackberry/lavender, Driftwell’s only flavor. The former additive is an amino acid that shows up in a lot of trendy things meant to promote sleep, but large-scale clinical studies that it does anything of the sort are sorely lacking. Magnesium also has little to no data suggesting that chugging some would help the average person experience this present moment in history less acutely.
It’s safe to say Pepsi is selling 7.5-ounce cans of the placebo effect, and to market these spurious claims it couldn’t even come up with a better name than Driftwell—which could just as easily be a Bluetooth-connected kayak, or a mattress startup blowing its entire budget on podcast ads.
Not ones to sling mud without offering a solution, here are a few names for something in the soda giant’s wheelhouse that are demonstrably better:
8. Melatonin Dew
7. Pibb Xanaxtra
4. Dr. Sleeper
3. Mountain Dew: Code Dread
2. A pint of room-temperature vodka
1. Pepsi Coma
The drink currently known as Driftwell is slated to hit shelves in the first quarter of 2021, according to PepsiCo, so it’s not too late to pick a different, better name.