Pepsi was first introduced as "Brad's Drink" in New Bern, North Carolina, United States, in 1893 by Caleb Bradham, who made it at his drugstore where the drink was sold. It was renamed Pepsi-Cola in 1898 after the root of the word "dyspepsia" and the kola nuts used in the recipe. The original recipe also included sugar and vanilla. Bradham sought to create a fountain drink that was appealing and would aid in digestion and boost energy.
The original stylized Pepsi-Cola wordmark used from 1898 until 1905.
In 1903, Bradham moved the bottling of Pepsi-Cola from his drugstore to a rented warehouse. That year, Bradham sold 7,968 gallons of syrup. The next year, Pepsi was sold in six-ounce bottles, and sales increased to 19,848 gallons. In 1909, automobile race pioneer Barney Oldfield was the first celebrity to endorse Pepsi-Cola, describing it as "A bully drink...refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before a race." The advertising theme "Delicious and Healthful" was then used over the next two decades.
A 1919 newspaper ad for Pepsi-Cola
In 1931, at the depth of the Great Depression, the Pepsi-Cola Company entered bankruptcy—in large part due to financial losses incurred by speculating on the wildly fluctuating sugar prices as a result of World War I. Assets were sold and Roy C. Megargel bought the Pepsi trademark. Megargel was unsuccessful, and soon Pepsi's assets were purchased by Charles Guth, the President of Loft, Inc. Loft was a candy manufacturer with retail stores that contained soda fountains. He sought to replace Coca-Cola at his stores' fountains after The Coca-Cola Company refused to give him a discount on syrup. Guth then had Loft's chemists reformulate the Pepsi-Cola syrup formula.
On three separate occasions between 1922 and 1933, The Coca-Cola Company was offered the opportunity to purchase the Pepsi-Cola company, and it declined on each occasion.
During the Great Depression, Pepsi-Cola gained popularity following the introduction in 1936 of a 12-ounce bottle. With a radio advertising campaign featuring the jingle "Pepsi-Cola hits the spot / Twelve full ounces, that's a lot / Twice as much for a nickel, too / Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you", arranged in such a way that the jingle never ends. Pepsi encouraged price-watching consumers to switch, obliquely referring to the Coca-Cola standard of 6.5 ounces per bottle for the price of five cents (a nickel), instead of the 12 ounces Pepsi sold at the same price. Coming at a time of economic crisis, the campaign succeeded in boosting Pepsi's status. From 1936 to 1938, Pepsi-Cola's profits doubled.
The stylized Pepsi-Cola wordmark used from 1940 to 1950. It was reintroduced in 2014.
Pepsi's success under Guth came while the Loft Candy business was faltering. Since he had initially used Loft's finances and facilities to establish the new Pepsi success, the near-bankrupt Loft Company sued Guth for possession of the Pepsi-Cola company. A long legal battle, Guth v. Loft, then ensued, with the case reaching the Delaware Supreme Court and ultimately ending in a loss for Guth.
1940s advertisement specifically targeting African Americans, A young Ron Brown is the boy reaching for a bottle
Walter Mack was named the new President of Pepsi-Cola and guided the company through the 1940s. Mack, who supported progressive causes, noticed that the company's strategy of using advertising for a general audience either ignored African Americans or used ethnic stereotypes in portraying blacks. Up until the 1940s, the full revenue potential of what was called "the Negro market" was largely ignored by white-owned manufacturers in the U.S. Mack realized that blacks were an untapped niche market and that Pepsi stood to gain market share by targeting its advertising directly towards them. To this end, he hired Hennan Smith, an advertising executive "from the Negro newspaper field" to lead an all-black sales team, which had to be cut due to the onset of World War II.
In 1947, Walter Mack resumed his efforts, hiring Edward F. Boyd to lead a twelve-man team. They came up with advertising portraying black Americans in a positive light, such as one with a smiling mother holding a six pack of Pepsi while her son (a young Ron Brown, who grew up to be Secretary of Commerce) reaches up for one. Another ad campaign]l, titled "Leaders in Their Fields", profiled twenty prominent African Americans such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche and photographer Gordon Parks.
Boyd also led a sales team composed entirely of blacks around the country to promote Pepsi. Racial segregation and Jim Crow laws were still in place throughout much of the U.S.; Boyd's team faced a great deal of discrimination as a result, from insults by Pepsi co-workers to threats by the Ku Klux Klan. On the other hand, it was able to use its anti-racism stance as a selling point, attacking Coke's reluctance to hire blacks and support by the chairman of The Coca-Cola Company for segregationist Governor of Georgia Herman Talmadge. As a result, Pepsi's market share as compared to Coca-Cola's shot up dramatically in the 1950s with African American soft-drink consumers three times more likely to purchase Pepsi over Coke. After the sales team visited Chicago, Pepsi's share in the city overtook that of Coke for the first time.
Journalist Stephanie Capparell interviewed six men who were on the team in the late 1940s. The team members had a grueling schedule, working seven days a week, morning and night, for weeks on end. They visited bottlers, churches, ladies groups, schools, college campuses, YMCAs, community centers, insurance conventions, teacher and doctor conferences, and various civic organizations. They got famous jazzmen such as Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton to promote Pepsi from the stage. No group was too small or too large to target for a promotion.
Pepsi advertisements avoided the stereotypical images common in the major media that depicted one-dimensional Aunt Jemimas and Uncle Bens, whose role was to draw a smile from white customers. Instead, it portrayed black customers as self-confident middle-class citizens who showed very good taste in their soft drinks. They were economical too, as Pepsi bottles were twice the size.
This focus on the market for black people caused some consternation within the company and among its affiliates. It did not want to seem focused on black customers for fear white customers would be pushed away. In a national meeting, Mack tried to assuage the 500 bottlers in attendance by pandering to them, saying "We don't want it to become known as a nigger drink." After Mack left the company in 1950, support for the black sales team faded and it was cut.
The Pepsi logo used from 1973 to 1991. In 1987, the font was modified slightly to a more rounded version which was used until 1991. This logo was used for Pepsi Throwback until 2014. It is now used on packaging for regular Pepsi during their 2018 Pepsi Generations Super Bowl ad campaign and Pepsi Stuff.
The Pepsi logo used from 2003 to late 2008. This logo is still in use in some international markets. The original version had the Pepsi wording on the top left of the Pepsi Globe. In 2006, the Pepsi wording was moved to the bottom of the globe.
The Pepsi logo used from 2008 to 2014. In October 2008, Pepsi launched an entirely new logo, but it did not come into effect until early 2009, when usage of the last logo ended. The Pepsi globe is now two-dimensional again, and the red white and blue design has been changed to look like a smile. The font used in this logo is almost identical to the font used for Diet Pepsi from 1975 to 1986. The "e" in "pepsi" is shaped liked previous forms of the Pepsi Globe.
From the 1930s through the late 1950s, "Pepsi-Cola Hits The Spot" was the most commonly used slogan in the days of old radio, classic motion pictures, and later television. Its jingle (conceived in the days when Pepsi cost only five cents) was used in many different forms with different lyrics. With the rise of radio, Pepsi utilized the services of a young, up-and-coming actress named Polly Bergen to promote products, oftentimes lending her singing talents to the classic "...Hits The Spot" jingle.
Film actress Joan Crawford, after marrying Pepsi-Cola President Alfred N. Steele became a spokesperson for Pepsi, appearing in commercials, television specials, and televised beauty pageants on behalf of the company. Crawford also had images of the soft drink placed prominently in several of her later films. When Steele died in 1959, Crawford was appointed to the Board of Directors of Pepsi-Cola, a position she held until 1973, although she was not a board member of the larger PepsiCo, created in 1965.
The Buffalo Bisons, an American Hockey League team, were sponsored by Pepsi-Cola in its later years; the team adopted the beverage's red, white, and blue color scheme along with a modification of the Pepsi logo (with the word "Buffalo" in place of the Pepsi-Cola wordmark). The Bisons ceased operations in 1970, making way for the Buffalo Sabres.
Through the intervening decades, there have been many different Pepsi theme songs sung on television by a variety of artists, from Joanie Summers to the Jacksons to Britney Spears. (See Slogans.)
In 1975, Pepsi introduced the Pepsi Challenge marketing campaign where PepsiCo set up a blind tasting between Pepsi-Cola and rival Coca-Cola. During these blind taste tests, the majority of participants picked Pepsi as the better tasting of the two soft drinks. PepsiCo took great advantage of the campaign with television commercials reporting the results to the public.
Pepsi has been featured in several films, including Back to the Future (1985), Home Alone (1990), Wayne's World (1992), Fight Club (1999), and World War Z (2013).
In 1996, PepsiCo launched the highly successful Pepsi Stuff marketing strategy. "Project Blue" was launched in several international markets outside the United States in April. The launch included extravagant publicity stunts, such as a Concorde aeroplane painted in blue colors (which was owned by Air France) and a banner on the Mir space station.
The Project Blue design arrived in the United States test marketed in June 1997, and finally released in 1998 worldwide to celebrate Pepsi's 100th anniversary. It was at this point the logo began to be referred to as the Pepsi Globe.
By 2002, the strategy was cited by Promo Magazine as one of 16 "Ageless Wonders" that "helped redefine promotion marketing".
In 2007, PepsiCo redesigned its cans for the fourteenth time, and for the first time, included more than thirty different backgrounds on each can, introducing a new background every three weeks. One of its background designs includes a string of repetitive numbers, "73774". This is a numerical from a telephone keypad of the word "Pepsi".
In late 2008, Pepsi overhauled its entire brand, simultaneously introducing a new logo and a minimalist label design. The redesign was comparable to Coca-Cola's earlier simplification of its can and bottle designs. Pepsi also teamed up with YouTube to produce its first daily entertainment show called Poptub. This show deals with pop culture, internet viral videos, and celebrity gossip.
Pepsi has official sponsorship deals with the National Football League, National Hockey League, and National Basketball Association. It was the sponsor of Major League Soccer until December 2015 and Major League Baseball until April 2017, both leagues signing deals with Coca-Cola. Pepsi also has the naming rights to the Pepsi Center, an indoor sports facility in Denver, Colorado. In 1997, after his sponsorship with Coca-Cola ended, retired NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver turned Fox NASCAR announcer Jeff Gordon signed a long-term contract with Pepsi, and he drives with the Pepsi logos on his car with various paint schemes for about 2 races each year, usually a darker paint scheme during nighttime races. Pepsi has remained as one of his sponsors ever since. Pepsi has also sponsored the NFL Rookie of the Year award since 2002.
Pepsi also has sponsorship deals in international cricket teams. The Pakistani national cricket team is one of the teams that the brand sponsors. The team wears the Pepsi logo on the front of their test and ODI test match clothing.
In July 2009, Pepsi started marketing itself as Pecsi in Argentina in response to its name being mispronounced by 25% of the population and as a way to connect more with all of the population.
In October 2008, Pepsi announced that it would be redesigning its logo and re-branding many of its products by early 2009. In 2009, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi Max began using all lower-case fonts for name brands. The brand's blue and red globe trademark became a series of "smiles", with the central white band arcing at different angles depending on the product until 2010. Pepsi released this logo in U.S. in late 2008, and later it was released in 2009 in Canada (the first country outside of the United States for Pepsi's new logo), Brazil, Bolivia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Panama, Chile, Dominican Republic, the Philippines, and Australia. In the rest of the world, the new logo was released in 2010. The old logo is still used in several international markets, and has been phased out most recently in France and Mexico. The UK started to use the new Pepsi logo on cans in an order different from the US can. Starting in mid-2010, all Pepsi variants, regular, diet, and Pepsi Max, have started using only the medium-sized "smile" Pepsi Globe.
In 2011, for New York Fashion Week, Diet Pepsi introduced a "skinny" can that is taller and has been described as a "sassier" version of the traditional can that Pepsi said was made in "celebration of beautiful, confident women". The company's equating of "skinny" and "beautiful" and "confident" drew criticism from brand critics, consumers who did not back the "skinny is better" ethos, and the National Eating Disorders Association, which said that it took offense to the can and the company's "thoughtless and irresponsible" comments. PepsiCo Inc. is a Fashion Week sponsor. This new can was made available to consumers nationwide in March.
In April 2011, Pepsi announced that customers would be able to buy a complete stranger a soda at a new "social" vending machine, and even record a video that the stranger would see when they pick up the gift.
In March 2013, Pepsi for the first time in 17 years reshaped its 20-ounce bottle. However, some areas did not get the updated bottles until early 2014.
In November 2013, Pepsi issued an apology on their official Swedish Facebook page for using pictures of Cristiano Ronaldo as a voodoo doll in various scenes before the Sweden v Portugal 2014 FIFA World Cup playoff game.
In November 2015, Pepsi announced it would launch a new variation called "1893". This variation was released in 2016 as a Pepsi variation made with all natural ingredients.
On April 4, 2017, Pepsi posted a commercial, dubbed “Live for Now (Pepsi)” to YouTube. In the commercial, Kendall Jenner is seen taking off her wig, removing her necklace, and leaving her photoshoot to join a protest going on. The protest ends when Jenner hands a police officer a can of Pepsi soda, reuniting everyone. The advertisement generated public controversy and criticism for trivializing protest movements such as Black Lives Matter. On April 5, 2017, Pepsi issued an apology and removed the commercial from YouTube.
In 2018 May, Pepsi began selling 0,33L cans with designs of older Pepsi generations, with stylized prints of celebrities associated with the brand and the older designs of the Pepsi logo.
Rivalry with Coca-Cola
Main article: Cola Wars
According to Consumer Reports, in the 1970s, the rivalry continued to heat up the market. Pepsi conducted blind taste tests in stores, in what was called the "Pepsi Challenge". These tests suggested that more consumers preferred the taste of Pepsi (which is believed to have more lemon oil, and less orange oil, and uses vanillin rather than vanilla) to Coke. The sales of Pepsi started to climb, and Pepsi kicked off the "Challenge" across the nation. This became known as the "Cola Wars".
In 1985, The Coca-Cola Company, amid much publicity, changed its formula. The theory has been advanced that New Coke, as the reformulated drink came to be known, was invented specifically in response to the Pepsi Challenge. However, a consumer backlash led to Coca-Cola quickly reintroducing the original formula as "Coca-Cola Classic".
In 1989, Billy Joel mentioned the rivalry between the two companies in the song "We Didn't Start the Fire". The line "Rock & Roller Cola Wars" refers to Pepsi and Coke's usage of various musicians in advertising campaigns. Coke used Paula Abdul, while Pepsi used Michael Jackson. Both companies then competed to get other musicians to advertise its beverages.
According to Beverage Digest's 2008 report on carbonated soft drinks, PepsiCo's U.S. market share is 30.8 percent, while The Coca-Cola Company's is 42.7 percent. Coca-Cola outsells Pepsi in most parts of the U.S., notable exceptions being central Appalachia, North Dakota, and Utah. In the city of Buffalo, New York, Pepsi outsells Coca-Cola by a two-to-one margin.
Overall, Coca-Cola continues to outsell Pepsi in almost all areas of the world. However, exceptions include: Oman, India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, and Northern Ontario.
Pepsi had long been the drink of French-Canadians, and it continues to hold its dominance by relying on local Québécois celebrities (especially Claude Meunier, of La Petite Vie fame) to sell its product. PepsiCo introduced the Quebec slogan "here, it's Pepsi" (Ici, c'est Pepsi'm) in response to Coca-Cola ads proclaiming "Around the world, it's Coke" (Partout dans le monde, c'est Coke).
As of 2012, Pepsi is the third most popular carbonated drink in India, with a 15% market share, behind Sprite and Thums Up. In comparison, Coca-Cola is the fourth most popular carbonated drink, occupying a mere 8.8% of the Indian market share. By most accounts, Coca-Cola was India's leading soft drink until 1977, when it left India because of the new foreign exchange laws which mandated majority shareholding in companies to be held by Indian shareholders. The Coca-Cola Company was unwilling to dilute its stake in its Indian unit as required by the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), thus sharing its formula with an entity in which it did not have majority shareholding. In 1988, PepsiCo gained entry to India by creating a joint venture with the Punjab government-owned Punjab Agro Industrial Corporation (PAIC) and Voltas India Limited. This joint venture marketed and sold Lehar Pepsi until 1991, when the use of foreign brands was allowed; PepsiCo bought out its partners and ended the joint venture in 1994. In 1993, The Coca-Cola Company returned in pursuance of India's Liberalization policy.
Pepsi bottles in USSR period style in supermarket in Kyiv
In Russia, Pepsi initially had a larger market share than Coke, but it was undercut once the Cold War ended. In 1972, PepsiCo struck a barter agreement with the then government of the Soviet Union, in which PepsiCo was granted exportation and Western marketing rights to Stolichnaya vodka in exchange for importation and Soviet marketing of Pepsi. This exchange led to Pepsi being the first foreign product sanctioned for sale in the Soviet Union.
Reminiscent of the way that Coca-Cola became a cultural icon and its global spread spawned words like "cocacolonization", Pepsi-Cola and its relation to the Soviet system turned it into an icon. In the early 1990s, the term "Pepsi-stroika" began appearing as a pun on "perestroika", the reform policy of the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev. Critics viewed the policy as an attempt to usher in Western products in deals there with the old elites. Pepsi, as one of the first American products in the Soviet Union, became a symbol of that relationship and the Soviet policy. This was reflected in Russian author Victor Pelevin's book "Generation P".
In 1992, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Coca-Cola was introduced to the Russian market. As it came to be associated with the new system and Pepsi to the old, Coca-Cola rapidly captured a significant market share that might otherwise have required years to achieve. By July 2005, Coca-Cola enjoyed a market share of 19.4 percent, followed by Pepsi with 13 percent.
Pepsi did not sell soft drinks in Israel until 1991. Many Israelis and some American Jewish organizations attributed Pepsi's previous reluctance to do battle with the Arab boycott. Pepsi, which has a large and lucrative business in the Arab world, denied that, saying that economic, rather than political, reasons kept it out of Israel.
Pepsiman is an official Pepsi mascot from Pepsi's Japanese corporate branch, created sometime around the mid-1990s. Pepsiman took on three different outfits, each one representing the current style of the Pepsi can in distribution. Twelve commercials were created featuring the character. His role in the advertisements is to appear with Pepsi to thirsty people or people craving soda. Pepsiman happens to appear at just the right time with the product. After delivering the beverage, sometimes Pepsiman would encounter a difficult and action-oriented situation which would result in injury. Another more minor mascot, Pepsiwoman, also featured in a few of her own commercials for Pepsi Twist; her appearance is basically a female Pepsiman wearing a lemon-shaped balaclava.
In 1996, Sega-AM2 released the Sega Saturn version of its arcade fighting game Fighting Vipers. In this game Pepsiman was included as a special character, with his specialty listed as being the ability to "quench one's thirst". He does not appear in any other version or sequel. In 1999, KID developed a video game for the PlayStation entitled Pepsiman. As the titular character, the player runs "on rails" (forced motion on a scrolling linear path), skateboards, rolls, and stumbles through various areas, avoiding dangers and collecting cans of Pepsi, all while trying to reach a thirsty person as in the commercials.
Car contest in Novosibirsk
In 2002, at Novosibirsk, Pepsi created a contest to win a car, where customers who bought a bottle of Pepsi could win a car by choosing the right key for the car. However, when a man was able to open a car, he was sued by Pepsi, as Pepsi considered that he had forced the car open by applying pressure on the lock instead of selecting the right key, although the man stated that he had complied with every step of the contest rules.
"We Will Rock You" music video
In 2004, advertising agency BBDO Paris produced a three-minute music video-style commercial for Pepsi featuring singers Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Pink as gladiatrixes sent into an ancient Roman colosseum to battle one another. Instead, they throw down their weapons and perform a cover version of Queen's 1977 hit song "We Will Rock You" to a cheering, foot-stomping crowd. They then drink cans of Pepsi while the Emperor (played by Enrique Iglesias) is thrown into the arena to face a lion.
Serving size 12 fl oz (355 ml)