TR Robertson — Another of the large soda manufactures coming in existence at the turn of the 1900’s is Pepsi-Cola. Created and developed by Caleb Bradham, in his drug store in New Bern, North Carolina, in 1893. Originally called Brad’s Drink, it was advertised as more than a drink, it was billed as an aid to indigestion. In 1898 the drink would be renamed Pepsi-Cola, taken from the Greek word for indigestion – olyspepsia. In 1961, the name would be shortened to Pepsi. Along with helping to combat indigestion, the drink was said to not only aid in digestion but was supposed to boost energy. The original formula contained carbonated water, kola nuts, pepsin, sugar and vanilla.
In 1903, Bradham moved his production to a warehouse in New Bern where he would begin bottling six ounce bottles of the soda. In 1906, Pepsi-Cola had their first celebrity endorsement, Barney Oldfield, a popular auto racer at the turn of the century, said the drink was “Delicious and Healthy”, and the slogan was used to promote the soda.
In 1923, Pepsi-Cola declared bankruptcy, in large part due to financial losses from speculations the company made on sugar prices. Pepsi-Cola would be purchased for $10,500, in 1931, by Roy C. Megargel. Megargel was unable to revive the brand and not long after would be purchased by Charles Guth, President of Loft, a candy manufacturer that had retail stores with soda fountains in the stores. Guth wanted to replace Coca Cola in his soda fountains after a dispute he had with the company over discounts he wanted for their syrup. Owning the Pepsi-Cola brand, Guth’s chemists reformulated the syrup formula of the soda. He would own the company from 1931-1939. Interestingly, between 1922-1933 Coca Cola was offered the opportunity to purchase Pepsi-Cola three different times and Coca Cola declined all three times.
In 1934, Pepsi introduced a 12 ounce bottle they marketed for the same price as Coca Cola’s 6 ounce bottle. In 1940, they introduced a clever jingle sung by the Tune Twisters. It went something like this – “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”.
In 1950, the President of Pepsi-Cola was Alfred N. Steele. His wife was the popular movie actress Joan Crawford. She became a spokesperson for Pepsi-Cola and was on the Board of Directors until 1973. Bottles of Pepsi were shown in many of her movies. Pepsi has been seen in many other movies like “Back to the Future”, “Home Alone”, “Wayne’s World”, “Fight Club” and “World War Z”.
The Pepsi logo has gone through a series of design and marketing changes but has always kept the red, white and blue colors. In 1961, Pepsi became the official name of the soda. The 1970’s brought the famous Pepsi Challenge Taste Test between Coca Cola and Pepsi. The two soda giants battled for major sports sponsors like the NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS, NHL and NASCAR. The 1980’s were called the Rock & Roller Cola Wars. Paula Abdul was a spokesperson for Coca Cola and Michael Jackson was the spokesperson for Pepsi.
Some of the interesting trivia associated with Pepsi include:
- Originally, Pepsi did not contain caffeine.
- A 12 fl, oz. Pepsi contains 150 calories, the same size Coca Cola contains 140 calories
- Coca Cola outsells Pepsi in most parts of the world except in India, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland & Labrador.
- Pepsi was the first soda to be manufactured, marketed and sold in the Soviet Union in 1972
- Pepsi was the first soda company to use motorized vehicles for delivery, in 1908.
- In 1936 a 12 oz. bottle of Pepsi sold for .10 cents, the same price as a 6.5 oz. bottle of Coca Cola
- Pepsi was the first to introduce the 2 liter bottles, 1976.
- In 1965, Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay merged to become PepsiCo.
- Pepsi was the first company in the 1940’s to hire black sales executives.
- Pepsi is the largest food and beverage company in North America.
- Pepsi won the 1975 Pepsi Challenge taste test against Coca Cola.
- Pepsi owns over 500 patents
- The logo on the Pepsi can has been redesigned over 14 times.
- The colors on the Pepsi products represent the American flag.
- James Dean’s first acting job was in a Pepsi commercial in 1950.
- “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara starred in her first commercial for Pepsi at age 17 in South America
- Between 1932-1940, Pepsi used skywriting to advertise their product in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Cuba and South America.
- In 1995, Josta was the first energy drink to be bottled and sold by a U.S. beverage company. The product lasted 4 years.
- In the 1990’s Japan introduced Pepsiman and Pepsiwoman in their advertisements.
- PepsiCo’s main businesses are Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola.
- Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho lost a $750,000 contract to Coca Cola when he took a sip of Pepsi.
Pepsi has sold some unusual flavors in a variety of different countries around the world. Some of these include:
- Australia – Pepsi Samba, Mango and Tamarind
- Italy – Pepsi Twist Mojito
- Japan – Pepsi White (yogurt), Pepsi Blue Hawaii – pineapple & lemon, Pepsi Red – spicy ginger, Pepsi 13 ao bah – monkey bread fruit, Pepsi Pink – strawberry milk, Pepsi Mount Blanc – French chestnut dessert
- Poland – Pepsi Summer Chill – apple flavor
- Russia – Pepsi Ice Cream & Cappuccino
- Thailand – Pepsi Fire – hot cinnamon
- U.S.A. – Pepsi Holiday – cinnamon, Pepsi Jazz – black cherry and French Vanilla
Pepsi or Coca Cola, the taste battle still wages today as these two giants continue to fight it out for the consumer’s dollar. Certainly, no barbeque in the U.S. just doesn’t seem the same without wither of these drinks in a cooler somewhere, always next to the bottles of beer.