The History of Pepsi
Pepsi, first known as “Brad’s Drink,” was created during the 1890s by Caleb “Doc”
Bradham in his North Carolina pharmacy. The original recipe included sugar, vanilla, oils,
spices, African kola nuts and carbonated water (PepsiCo, Inc., n.p.). Bradham said the drink
could cure a variety of ailments, including dyspepsia (an upset stomach) and ulcers. It was
originally branded as “exhilarating, invigorating and aiding in digestion” (Sarver Coombs, 2:
218), which took inspiration from the old elixir shows with the slogan, “Bound to cure what ails
The drink was renamed Pepsi-Cola in 1898 by Bradham and then started a beverage
business. He mixed the syrup in house and shipped it in barrels to soda fountain shops where
they add the carbonated water. Pepsi-Cola was a tremendous success in the first four years it
was sold, so Bradham closed his drugstore to devote his undivided attention to the production
and distribution of the drink. He also patented the Pepsi-Cola trademark. By 1905, he owned
two bottling franchises and five short years later, there were 250 Pepsi-Cola bottling franchises
spanning 40 states (Sarver Coombs, 2: 218).
Around the same time period, Coca-Cola, “Coke,” was created in Atlanta, Georgia,
where it was also sold as a medicinal drink. It is unknown whether or not Bradham tasted Coca-
Cola before he made his own version, but it is possible he heard about it during this time in
medical school. The true “Cola Wars” did not begin until Charles Guth took leadership over
Pepsi-Cola. Guth not only understood the basics of the product but realized the need for a
competitive cola market, because up until this point in history, Coca-Cola was the primary cola
seller in America.
Pepsi was soon branded as an affordable product because it only cost a nickel, drastically
cheaper than other struggling brands of cola; this resulted in selling twice as much product in the
1930s. The container size also increased to 12 ounces and the idea of “more for less” only
skyrocketed sales further. Coke soon matched Pepsi-Cola’s prices, causing them to lose their
In order to regain the edge, Alfred Steele focused on marketing to the family and
introduced a 20 ounce bottle. Pepsi struggled with their branding and advertising techniques as a
result of production issues, so in the late 1950s and early 1960s, they executed a product rebrand,
focusing on the youth and younger consumers and coining the phrase, “The Pepsi Generation”
(Sarver Coombs, 2: 220).
The end of World War II dramatically changed the consumer market and Pepsi-Cola changed
with it. They replaced their old slogan with a wide variety of new ones, such as “The Light
Refreshment,” “Refreshing without Filling” and “More Bounce to the Ounce” (Sarver Coombs,
2: 221). The drink formula was also changed to decrease sweetness and calories. This was also
resulted from the sugar rations from the war and soaring post-war prices.
Since the beginning of the cola wars, Coca-Cola was the front-runner. Finally in December
2005, after almost a decade of playing “catch-up,” Pepsi surpassed Coke in market shares. This
dramatic change was not solely attributed to cola sales, which only contributed 20 percent of
total sales (Sarver Coombs, 2: 224), but to its other products such as Gatorade, Frito-Lay snacks,
Tropicana and Aquafina. Currently, PepsiCo has 19 “mega brands” and each generates $1
billion annually (Mega Brands, n.p.).
There is actually a typo within this advertisement. They could have been using slang, but
I don’t think that they were.
Additionally, back then, soda/pop was used as a tonic and medicine to help patients feel
better. This is one of the first ads from New Bern, North Carolina. People didn’t drink pop just
because they were thirsty. This has a combination of resonance and a hard sell and a soft sell.
There is no definite selling strategy with this advertisement.
This was a sign that would be hung on the back bar of many early soda fountains. This is
clearly brand image, or at least a version of it, from the 1900s. The advertisement isn’t
technically a traditional advertisement since it wasn’t displayed out in the streets.
As said above, people back then did not drink soda for the enjoyment of it; they used it as
a medicine and a tonic. Everyone loved it and continued to drink it.
Healthful and Invigorating
This advertisement is from 1902, the earliest known Pepsi-Cola advertisement. A lot of
the advertisements from this era are advertising Pepsi as a tonic and a medicine. They are usually
appealing to the hard sell, telling their consumers that their product will help you and it’s the
only one for the job.
I feel like this would be brand image because they are telling you that they are the best
brand that there is. They are also using the hard sell, using facts and numbers.
Drink it through a Straw
According to the book: “As drinking from a bottle was considered unacceptable at the
time, straws were made available to purchasers of bottle of Pepsi-Cola,” (Stoddard 36).
Again, this is brand image and a hard sell. They are feeding the customer the hard facts
while making their brand look like they are on top. They are also using the show the product
message strategy by placing their product within the advertisement.
Pepsi Cola At Founts, In Bottles
In this advertisement they are also using showing the product/product placement. The
One Thing is that Pepsi-Cola is inexpensive and that everyone should drink it because this
woman is too. She is a staple to Pepsi-Cola later on
“The Gibson-style girl was one of the most popular images used in Pepsi-Cola
advertising, gracing cardboard signs, serving trays, and straw holders,” (Stoddard 37).
Several Good Towns Left, but you’d better hurry
This advertisement first appeared in January of 1916. They are using brand image with a
soft sell because they are trying to appeal to many consumers so they take part in their “contest”.
Pepsi-Cola wanted to make sure that their bottles were licensed.
This ad is very test heavy, which is typical for this time period, and doesn’t have a
straightforward One Thing or advantage to the consumer.
“Bradham believed that licensing bottles was the key to making Pepsi-Cola America’s
choice from coast to coast,” (Stoddard 35).
This advertisement has bright colors and text, which is pleasing to the eye and quite the
change from the early 1900s that only used black and white. The One Thing appears to be that
Pepsi-Cola is different than their competitors (Coca-Cola).
This is a soft sell and it uses showing the product to attract the consumer’s eye. It is
slightly distracting having the bottle placed directly behind the text. It also makes it a little
challenging to read with black on red.
Now is the Time
This ad is definitely appealing to the benefit that is gives to the customer. Pepsi is
beginning to use more and more color within their ads, which shows the growth of not only the
advertising industry, but the brand itself.
The last sentence says: “Read our propositions on the other side of this page and get on
the band wagon before it is too late” which indicates that they are trying to get the customer to
do something for part of their campaign.
For all Thirsts
This ad was one of the beginning newspaper/print campaigns that Pepsi released with the
hiring of a new advertising firm. They are appealing to a wide variety of different audiences.
They are showing the product, which adds to their advertisement.
Furthermore, they are using a brand image standpoint by making their brand look good
overall and drawing consumers in by showing and highlighting their attributes.
“Pepsi-Cola ads were designed to attract consumers by offering a combination of
refreshment health benefits,” (Stoddard 55).
Pepsi-Cola: The True Facts
This ad is an example of hard sell preemptive, brand image and positioning message
strategies with comparison and straightforward message formulas. The ad’s “One Thing” is
Pepsi-Cola is distinctive because it is good for you and one of the first bottled drinks in the
The ad was produced and published in 1934 during the Great Depression and it was very
similar to the other ads of that period. Advertising during the Great Depression was very
different from today’s advertising. According to Sarver Coombs and Batchelor, advertising
during that day relied heavily on copy and vivid imagery to convince consumers to purchase
products and services by capitalizing on scare tactics and guilt, and by aligning their efforts with
the working class (1:63). The Pepsi-Cola ad does incorporate the idea of convincing the
consumers to buy their product by using the words “absolutely,” “famous” and “original.” Pepsi
is showing the consumers how their product is better than the competition by stating these
qualities and also clearly emphasizing the inexpensive cost in the bottom right corner of the ad,
which would be attractive to consumers of that day because it means they can still indulge
without emptying their wallets during the hard economic times.
The imagery of the advertisements used during the Great Depression were just as
confusing and inconsistent as the copywriting (Sarver Coombs 1:68). This advertisement is a
prime example of this because the label on the bottle says Pepsi was famous for 30 years while
the copy says it was famous for 40 years. Pepsi was created in 1898, less than 40 years before
the advertisement was published. There would be no way for a product to be famous before it
was even created. Even though the ad reminds the consumers about Pepsi’s long existence, it
may be very confusing to someone who has never heard of Pepsi before (Stoddard 70).
There were not very many visually appealing elements to the ad - just a image of a bottle
of Pepsi-Cola on the left third of the ad and the headline and copy on the right two thirds. The
logo at the top of the page does grab the readers’ attention but there are no other interesting
elements to keep the attention. The ad also commits one of the seven deadly sevens of
advertising - laundry lists. The ad would be more effective if there were several ads that focused
on one of the main points and the same concept and layout could be repeated, just by
emphasizing different aspects of the product, rather than trying to squeeze all of them on one ad
and leaving very little white space. The ad campaign could also be extended by creating a series
of radio ads that focused on one of the main benefits of Pepsi-Cola.
Pepsi-Cola Bucks You Up
This ad is an example of a hard sell brand image and positioning message strategies with
comparison and straightforward message formulas. The ad’s “One Thing” is Pepsi-Cola has as
much caffeine as a cup of coffee and it has been trademarked for 30 years. During the 1930s,
Pepsi put a lot of their advertising weight on their long history in the industry and their
During the Great Depression, Pepsi sold their cola in six-ounce bottles for 5 cents, which
was far below their competition’s price. This ad features an eight-ounce bottle for the same
price. This move was extremely successful for Pepsi because many Americans were pinching
pennies and didn’t have extra money to spend on “luxury” items. Pepsi showed Americans their
product is still affordable on a tight budget.
Pepsi was created as a medicinal drink to cure an upset stomach. Many Americans of
that time were fixated on “cure-all” drinks that would cure just about any ailment known to man
and many of these drinks and other concoctions were heavily represented in
advertisements. They ushered in a new and robust pitch for products specifically for the body
(Sarver Coombs 1:137). This advertisement was contains twice as much (“double strength”) of
coffee’s “stimulating ingredient.” If coffee worked to cure several ailments, Pepsi would work
twice as well. Pepsi production began to speed up during this decade along with the growing
obsession with consumerism. The ad mentions Pepsi features “16 different, delicious flavors;”
this would encourage consumerism because people would buy all 16 flavors to try; thus
increasing Pepsi’s sales.
The ad is very typical for ads of the period - a large amount of copy and pictures, without
much white space. While the large image of a soda glass and bubbles do catch the reader’s
attention, but there isn’t much else to keep the attention. The ad is completely in black and white
and there is not an obvious flow with the copy. Some of it is larger that needs to be read after
some of the smaller copy. This could be confusing for some readers because the copy isn’t in a
logical visual order. There is also a mixed message with the content of the copy. The headline
of the ad addresses how Pepsi has twice the amount of caffeine as coffee, but closer to the
middle and bottom of the ad, it talks about how Pepsi products are served in 138 Loft soda
fountains in New York and they have sold 3.5 million drinks. The overall message of the ad is a
little muddled with the many different smaller messages within the copy.
Pepsi-Cola Means Business!
This ad is an example of soft sell positioning and brand image message strategies with a
straightforward message formula. The ad’s “One Thing” is Pepsi had their “BIGGEST”
everything in 1939, including sales, advertising campaign and display variety.
After studying the ad for a little, it’s a stretch to even call it an advertisement. The main
subject of the copy was a self-promotional for the company rather than showcasing the features
and benefits of the product. The advertisement would fit into the company as an internal
promotional material, rather than distributing it to the public. While it would be beneficial to
promote some of the good things about the company, but don’t build an advertisement solely
around that. Consumers want to hear about new products and product benefit, not a company
promoting themselves to make them seem better than the competition. Even though the Cola
Wars were in full swing during 1939, these type of advertisements were not the way to go.
The ad also has a similar layout as one of the previous ads - featuring a long laundry list
of Pepsi’s “BIGGEST” accomplishments over the past year. In addition to the list of
achievements, it also appears the ad is shouting at times to the consumers with the extensive use
of exclamation points. Exclamation points are good to use in moderation if there is a particular
point you want to emphasize, not to put them after every main sentence in a paragraph. The ad
isn’t very visually interesting; no color or visually appealing layout to attract readers’attention or
guide them through the ad. The two slogans at the bottom of the ad is confusing because many
people wouldn’t be sure which one is the more important one. During that time, Pepsi primarily
advertised about its economical value for the amount of soda consumers receive. The main
slogan “The Swing is to Pepsi-cola” was never introduced in previous advertisements or in the
available future ones.
Pepsi-Cola Robert Day Cartoon Vintage Radio
This ad is an example of soft sell resonance message strategy with a slice of life and
problem/solution message formula. The ad appeals to the viewers’ emotions of comfort and
security because it depicts a man at home relaxing in front of the radio with a content smile on
his face. Many Americans of the time would be able to relate to the idea of relaxing in front of
the radio since many homes had radios during the ‘40s. Radio was a way to learn new
information about what was happening in the country and the involvement in World War II,
particularly through President Roosevelt’s fireside chats. It was also one of the new, primary
forms of entertainment for most Americans (Scott n.p.). During the evening, many radio stations
would host shows, particularly dramas.
The ad is effective because it plays off of the idea of radio is source of peace. The copy
of the ad says, “Henry says that’s the only good news on the radio these days.” Through much
of the 1940s, news about the war and other disasters were broadcasted over the radio and many
people were exposed to the bad news on a daily basis. The copy is making a connection in the
viewer’s minds that Pepsi is good news in a sea of bad news and by drinking the soda or even
hearing about it will put them in a better frame of mind, which is the ad’s “One Thing.” The ad
demonstrates this idea because it shows the words of a commercial coming out of the radio and
the man sitting with a smile and content look on his face.
The creative techniques in the ad were very simple, but they were executed
properly. The words coming out of the radio lead the viewers’ eyes through its path to the man
and then the eyes would continue down the page to the two women near the bottom of the page
and finally to the copy at the very bottom of the page. The proximity of the headline implies the
words’ path from the radio to the man’s ears.
The ad was very successful and there aren’t too many changes to be made, except to
suggest changes to increase repeatability. The same concept could be carried to other scenarios,
such as a woman in the kitchen or an entire family sitting around the radio. It would also
beneficial to feature different races, particularly African Americans. In the later part of the
1940s, Pepsi created African Americans as a target audience and it proved to be extremely
lucrative for them. Also, increasing the font size would make it noticeable and draw more
viewers into the text.
Pepsi-Cola American Energy Tank Mechanic
This ad is an example of hard sell brand image and positioning message strategy with
problem avoidance, comparison and straightforward message formulas. According to Sarver
Coombs and Batchelor, consumers like to see impressions of their own lives in advertisements
and therefore these ads must reflect the values of society in order to attract consumers
successfully (2: 180).The headline of this ad captured this concept very well; many, if not all,
Americans wanted to win World War II and it shows America has enough power and energy to
Pepsi compares its five cent bottle of soda to other nutritious foods, such as lamb chops,
potatoes, eggs and tomatoes. This comparison infers that Pepsi has more calories than the other
mentioned foods; it would give people more energy to put into the war effort, regardless if you
were a soldier or civilian. What the ad failed to mention is the quality of the calories in each
food product. Pepsi may give you a rush of energy but then get really tired a few hours later; so
it may solve the energy problem temporarily, rather than in the long run.
The ad uses alignment as its primary design principle. The headline leads the viewers’
eyes down the ad toward the picture and then to the chart and body copy. The ad is very simple
but it still gets it message across in a clear and concise manner. The ad’s “One Thing” is Pepsi
will give America the energy to help win the war. Even though the claim seems a little
outlandish, the message will connect with the readers because many wanted the war to end for
their loved ones to come home and life to return to normal.
The only element of the ad that would need to change a little is the chart and font size.
The body copy explains what the chart is saying so making the body copy a little bigger and the
chart a little smaller would help with this. Also, switching the copy and the chart would help
because people read left to right so their eyes would naturally read the body copy and then the
chart. This ad campaign could be repeated by featuring different people in the picture, such as
soldiers, peoples working in the factories at home and loved ones who remained in America.
The campaign could be extended by turning the headline and body copy into a radio
commercial. The script could be adapted for TV as well as adding visuals, because TV was
gaining popularity in the 1940s.
Pepsi Larger Bottles
This ad is an example of unique selling proposition and brand image message strategies
with a straightforward message formula. The “One Thing” is Pepsi is introducing a new and
larger bottle size and the quality of the soda is still the same even though customers are still
getting the same product for the same low price. This tactic was a way to increase their
competitive edge, especially with Coca-Cola.
The ad uses a variety of design principles, including alignment and contrast. The first
thing many people notice is the main copy of the ad located in the upper right hand corner of the
ad. This is a result of the distinct contrast between the black background and the bold white
text. This contrast is even more accentuated because the rest of the ad is a shade of grey, so it
makes the text stand out further. The viewer’s eyes move from the headline to the bottles and
down the ad and finally over to the bottom right corner of the ad with the father, daughter and
Pepsi’s choice of models for the ad was groundbreaking because the majority of
companies and corporations didn’t feature African Americans in their advertisements or in
employment positions. Pepsi did both. President Walter Mack established two additional
production lines to specifically employ African Americans and forced the unions to accept their
membership. This caused many people to think Pepsi was at a disadvantage because “the larger
size and low price often make a product popular among Negros, with the result that many
southern whites shun it” (Capparell, 40). Even though African Americans only accounted for
approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population, Pepsi was interested in African Americans who
had money to spend because no other large company was catering to their wants and needs
I believe the ad was successful because it focused on African Americans as people. This
was a tremendous risk because many companies advertise to this group, but the risk paid
off. African Americans are very brand loyal and once they saw Pepsi taking an interest in them,
they paid attention.
This ad campaign could be repeated by featuring races and ethnicities in different real
life, applicable situations. The campaign could be expanded by featuring the ad in various
publications, particularly ones targeted toward African Americans and other minority
groups. The ad could also be converted into a radio or TV commercial and aired on similar
The physical ad could altered to feature some color, either in the picture or text. This
would cause the features to stand out on the page and attract the readers’ attention. Adding color
to the text will specifically draw the eye to the ad’s “One Thing.”
Pepsi-Cola Refreshes without Filling
This ad is an example of unique selling proposition and resonance message strategies
with comparison and straightforward message formulas. The ad’s “One Thing” is times are
changing and things, including Pepsi, aren’t like they were back in your grandfather’s day. Pepsi
wanted to let their consumers they can still indulge with a Pepsi, even when “men are trimmer
and women are trimmer waisted.” Americans had become more weight conscious, and Pepsi
advertising reflected this cultural shift (Pepsi-Cola Story n.p.).
American culture changed dramatically after the end of World War II. Many Americans
had more money to spend on luxury items, such as soda, and people had more time for leisure
activities. According to Sarver Coombs and Batchelor, leisure is no longer defined as activities,
but rather spending money on material goods (119). This change was a result of the economic
surplus after the war and people wanted to purchase items that were once rationed, such as
Younger people of the 1950s were considered rebellious because they rejected values and
social norms from previous generations. The copy of the ad alludes to this idea by stating,
“There’s a new pattern of living. There’s a new look to today’s people...fashions are more
revealing, allow more ease of movement, more casual comfort than the tighter, stiffer, stuffier
vestments of Grandpa’s day...we shun the over-rich, the over-sweet, the over-filling - as Gradnpa
never did.” Pepsi played off of the rebellion idea in order to attract a younger audience base and
encourage them to buy the product by saying, “this product is different from your grandpa’s days
so if you buy this product, you’ll be creating a difference in today’s society.”
The ad structure is very simple and straightforward; it didn’t contain a lot of visually
interesting elements. The primary visual takes up the top half of the advertisement and the dense
copy occupies the bottom half. The variety of typefaces does create some interest during the
ad. The amount of text could be shortened to contain only the essential information, such as it is
light and refreshing without filling you up, and not a laundry list of scenarios. The headline
could also be moved to the top of the page to pull the reader into the ad and down to the copy
rather the readers simply seeing the picture first and trying to figure it out from there.
The ad could be repeated be featuring different scenarios about how the new Pepsi-Cola
can fit into the new American lifestyle, how it is different from the old Pepsi-Cola and what
direct benefits it has for the consumer. All of the ads would focus on resonance because all
Americans can relate to everyday American life and also mix in unique selling proposition,
brand image and positioning as well.
Pepsi So Full of Life...So Full of Fun
This ad is an example of soft sell positioning and resonance message strategies with
comparison, problem/solution and straightforward message formulas. The ad’s “One Thing” is
Pepsi gives you more energy or “bounce” in their soda versus the competition and their bottles
are also larger bottles.
This advertisement is a part of one of Pepsi’s three main campaign in the 1950s. While
many advertisements looked forward into the future, Pepsi’s “More Bounce to the Ounce” look
backward, which would explain why a old English woman was featured in the
advertisement. Even though this would concretely shows the history of Pepsi’s quality, going
back that far in history may not have been a good idea. Pepsi was invented in 19th century
America, not 17th or 18th century England. This campaign was fairly well-done and dynamic
but Coke’s campaigns were focusing on people enjoying their product and Pepsi continued to
promote the quality of their product (Clash, n.p.). During this campaign, Pepsi introduced their
new bottle cap logo and no longer featured their price as their main selling point, but rather a
lifestyle accommodation (Pepsi-Cola Story, n.p.)
The layout of the ad does not appear to have an obvious flow through the content. The
most logical way to read the ad would be like reading - left to right, top to bottom. The headline
and copy at the top of the ad definitely grabs attention and pulls the reader into the rest of the
ad. The ad does feature good proximity by placing the new bottle cap logo by the title so the
viewer would immediately associate the brand and the slogan. The ad also uses repetition of the
people featured enjoying the product. Near the bottom of the ad, Pepsi included the radio and
TV stations where similar ads are aired.
There are several elements of the ad that could benefit from being altered. The first is the
woman in old-fashioned clothing with the sign, bag and wagon wheel behind her. These items
don’t appear to the fit in with the rest of the ad’s modern theme. The previously mentioned
items do not belong to a single category either. The woman and ad seem to be from one era and
the bag and wagon wheel are from another. If those four items were replaced with something
more modern, it would give the ad a more streamlined, consistent appearance. The second is the
copy at the bottom of the ad. It is on the smaller side and many people may miss it if they don’t
read all the way down the ad. By enlarging it or moving it another part of the ad would make it
much more prominent, especially because it does contain an important part of the ad’s message,
“Why take less...when Pepsi’s the best!”
Pepsi They Do Nice Things For Others
This ad is an example of soft sell unique selling proposition message strategy with slice
of life and straightforward message formulas. The ad’s “One Thing” is the sociables prefer Pepsi
because the soda helps brighten their day so they can do nice things for other people.
“The Sociables” campaign was also one of Pepsi’s prominent 1950s campaign that
carried over into the early 1960s. Every ad consisted of people in extremely social settings
enjoying Pepsi-Cola. The campaign is brilliantly done and almost suggests Pepsi can help
people become more social (Clash, n.p.). This ad demonstrates this by saying that drinking Pepsi
will refresh you and then you can “do nice things for others.” The phrase, “Be Sociable, Have a
Pepsi,” also alludes to the idea that Pepsi can make even the most introverted people sociable.
This ad continues Pepsi’s pledge to prominently feature African Americans in their
advertisements. Many of the African American images and characters of the mid 1900s were
extremely racist and stereotypical of African Americans as a whole, such as mammy, “Uncle
Tom” and the savage or brute (Sarver Coombs, 1:88). According to Sarver Coombs and
Batchelor, these African American stereotypical images provide “a characteristics or set of
characteristics that serve as a means of control and as a means of justifying past and present
racial inequalities by not allowing an African American person to be an individual” (1:88).
When Pepsi features African Americans in their ads, they didn’t include any of the
stereotypes that were featured in the majority of that day’s advertisements. All of Pepsi’s ads
featured African Americans in the same way as all of the other “models,” by doing common,
everyday tasks regardless of their race or ethnicity. This decision stood out dramatically to the
African American community, which resulted with an even higher level of brand loyalty.
The ad itself does need a few minor changes, such as featuring the physical product in a
more prominent way. The product is only featured by the bottles the people are holding and the
small bottle cap logo in the bottom right hand of the page. The label on the bottles is covered by
the people’s hands and the viewers would have a hard time identifying the product if they didn’t
read the copy. The picture takes up the majority of the advertisement, leaving very little room for
the headline and body copy at the very top and bottom of the page. Adding more white space
would allow the reader’s eyes to move more easily through the ad and this would allow for the
headline and copy to be enlarged a little so it would be easier to notice and read.
This advertisement could be repeated by featuring different races and ethnicities
socializing and participating in common activities. There could also be several ads featuring
mixed racial groups to emphasize the idea of Pepsi’s dedication to racial equality.
Pepsi Enter Pepsi-Cola Bottlers 2,000,000 Shopping Spree
This ad is an example of a hard sell unique selling proposition message strategy with a
straightforward message formula. The ad’s “One Thing” is to inform the general public about
the contest they are hosting and how to enter for a chance to win a house and groceries.
This ad is not like the typical Pepsi advertisements we have seen in the past. Many of the
past advertisements featured the product and consumer benefits. The products and brands of the
1960s were known for featuring contests; there were so many that many publications were
created to compile all of the contests in one place. The reason why contests and sweepstakes
were so popular was because the U.S. economy grew up 37 percent in the 1950s and by 1960,
Americans had 30 percent more buying power than in 1950 (Yannig n.p.). Many brands
participated in contests and other promotional projects to increase the number of products they
sell (Yannig, n.p.). Many contests required participants to send in a proof of purchase with their
entry, which would increase the number of items by how many people participated in the contest,
not counting the contestants who entered multiple times.
The contest advertisement was very text- driven, especially near the bottom. the main
body copy detailed the different prize levels and how to enter. The amount of text may be a little
overwhelming for some people to read or they may skip over it all together. By shortening the
amount of copy, people would be more willing to read it. Instead of relaying every last detail
about the different prize level, include only the bare essentials, such as how many prizes are
given out at each level and what each prize level includes.
The picture and headline definitely draw readers in the ad because they would be
curious why the family has all of their groceries outside on the front lawn and they would also
be looking for how to enter the contest. The picture concretely shows what the grand prize
would be and the amount of groceries that is considered a “houseful.” The product and company
who is sponsoring it is shown at the bottom of the advertisement right by the main
copy. Shortening the copy, adding some color and establishing a text hierarchy would improve
the ad and attract more attention.
The advertisement could be repeated be sponsoring other contests or sweepstakes similar
to this one. Not only will it increase sales by requiring proof of purchase but it would also
increase overall brand awareness.
Pepsi All You Need Is a Bright Young Point of View
This ad is an example of a soft sell resonance message strategy with a slice of life and
straightforward message formula. The ad’s “One Thing” is America in the 1960s was the “Pepsi
Generation” and Pepsi-Cola was there to help people with everyday life, especially sports and
Many scholars have debated whether or not Pepsi created the “Pepsi Generation” or it
was always there and Pepsi-Cola put a name to the concept. The Pepsi Generation is a strategy
Pepsi-Cola used to target the younger audience demographic or the older demographics who are
young at heart (Hollander 2). Instead of targeting age specifically, Pepsi focused on
youthfulness, because it would appeal to almost every age demographic.
Youthfulness was a crucial element for the campaign because the advertisements make
the connection between the product and how it can help you be more youthful by giving people
the energy to ski. This advertising technique was successful because older individuals switched
from Coca-cola over to Pepsi and the “Pepsi Generation” overshadowed the “Coke Set” in
youthfulness (Hallander 101). Hollander and Germain concluded the “Pepsi Generation” did
exist before Pepsi discovered it, but that does not detract from Pepsi’s successful tapping into the
youth theme at an appropriate time (Hollander 117).
The slogan, “Come Alive! You’re in the Pepsi Generation!” presented rational
information about the company, such as its desired position in the marketplace (Sarver Coombs
2:322). Slogans became extremely popular during the late 1906s and early 1970s, which allowed
brands to distinguish and position themselves apart from the competition (Sarver Coombs
2:323). By creating a brand in a marketplace, it is also increasing equity with the brand. Brands
with stronger equity are more likely to hold a larger share in the marketplace (Sarver Coombs,
2:326); this may have contributed to more Americans switching from Coca-Cola to Pepsi.
Even though 1960s advertisements were very image heavy, the picture is not very
prominent in this one. The picture may be at the top of the advertisement but the viewers’ eyes
are drawn down toward the bottom of the ad where the copy is. The slogan and bottles at the
bottom right hand of the advertisement; it stands out because of the pops of color against the
black and white background. There are several improvements that could be made. The first is to
integrate the copy and the image; maybe play off of the skier’s angles. The second is add a text
hierarchy because all of the copy is the same size, with occasional bolding. This would also help
add emphasis to the text and help move the readers through the ad.
Pepsi - For Those Who Think Young
This ad is an example of a soft sell resonance message strategy with a straightforward
message formula. The ad’s “One Thing” is Pepsi is a suitable drink for anyone, no matter what
their age is, as long as they think young.
The “Now it’s Pepsi for those who think young” was one of the major campaigns from
the 1960s. By this time, Pepsi and Coca-Cola were in full swing with the Cola wars, each trying
to find a way to edge out the other in sales. Targeting a younger demographic was a smart move
for Pepsi to make (Clash n.p.). This strategy was very similar to the previous advertising
campaigns, such as the Pepsi Generation campaign. The targeted audience was very similar in
The ad is very similar to other ads during this decade - with a large picture taking up most
of the page and the headline and copy squished at the very bottom of the ad. The ad would be
better by enlarging the headline and creating alignment in the ad and drawing the reader through
You Can Do It. We Can Help
The one thing for this Pepsi ad is that Diet Pepsi will help you lose weight. It establishes
Pepsi’s image as a drink that will help you lose weight and help you look more desirable. For
this, it utilizes “show the product” and “show the benefit” strategies. The ad establishes the brand
image using a message strategy of straightforwardness and demonstration. The tag for this ad,
and the campaign itself, is “There’s only one calorie in a can.” This claim gave Pepsi a leg up in
marketing. Additionally, the can design was slightly adjusted to look slimmer.
This ad was used in a variety of magazines, with the demographic of young to middle
aged women being targeted. It used images of a slim woman fitting into a pair of form fitting
jeans paired with large test over an image of the Pepsi can. It uses soft sell and unique selling
proposition, as the first pop to market itself as diet,
According to AdAge, it was during the 1970s that the Federal Trade Commission allowed
light beer marketers to compare their calorie counts (n.p.). Light became the key to higher beer
sales. At this point, the practice also carried over to pop, where “diet” was the magic word to
place next to your brand name.
The Diet Pepsi campaign was hugely successful, with Pepsi-Cola rising to number one
for pop sales in super-markets in 1974, when it was officially introduced. It was the first pop to
market itself as a diet drink, which helped to make it such a big hit. This established them as the
first to respond to consumers wanting to drink pop without the negative side-effects of all the
sugar contained in regular colas.
The Big Weekend Pair Up with Pepsi
The one thing for this Pepsi ad is that Pepsi is the drink for a good weekend. It establishes
Pepsi as a drink that is made to accompany a fun weekend with your friends and family. For this,
“show the product” this utilized as the message strategy. The ad establishes the brand image
using demonstration and slice of life as the message formula.
This ad was used in multiple magazines, with a young adult demographic in mind. It
includes images of young adults holding cases of Pepsi bottles and having fun with each other.
This ad was also used for positioning. The 1970s were part of the era of the Cola Wars,
with Pepsi and Coca-Cola struggling for the top spot in the pop world.
According to AdAge, “marketers found it necessary to position a product in the
consumer’s mind, both within the context of its own merits and strengths and in relation to its
competitors.” “Pepsi and Coca-Cola went head-to-head in Coke’s ‘It’s the Real Thing’
campaign and Pepsi’s hidden cameras that recorded blind taste tests against Coke, boosting
Pepsi’s market share in a year” (AdAge). This struggle has continued on since then.
This campaign was incredibly successful, as seen in the above quote. Pepsi gained a leg
up over Coke, putting them in the top slot.
It’s something to see when the
Pepsi generation plays the game,
One flick of the wrist, it’s a whole
new twist and football’s not the
Come on, come on, come on,
Taste the Pepsi way
The Pepsi generation
Come on, come on, come on,
Have a Pepsi day
Have a Pepsi Day
The one thing with this ad is that drinking Pepsi will make your day cooler and better. It
is what the younger generations are drinking and it’s helping them to leave lives that are more
interesting than they would be otherwise, it claims. The commercial uses “show the product” and
“show the benefit” as its message strategy. It uses slice of life as its message formula.
This ad aired on various television platforms as long-term campaign in the 1970s. It
reached out to a younger demographic, evidently one of 16-25 or so. It has video of young adults
playing Frisbee, drinking Pepsi, and looking young and beautiful—everything about this
commercial makes the pop look incredibly appealing for a day out with your friends.
This ad, too, was used for positioning. It makes the youth out to be “the Pepsi
generation,” a group that everyone should want to be a part of. This method of creating an image
of exclusivity and elite status was used during the Cola Wars as Coke and Pepsi went head-to-
You’re a whole new generation,
You’re lovin’ what you do,
I’m gonna put this in motion and
show some stuff to you,
You’re the Pepsi generation,
It doesn’t matter what comes your
Feel the Pepsi way,
You’re a whole new generation,
You’re the Pepsi generation.
The main idea of this advertisement is that drinking Pepsi will make you love your life. It
uses “show the product” and “testimonial/case history” as the message strategy. It uses
spokesperson and demonstration as the message formula.
This advertisement is from the very beginning of the 1980s, when the Cola Wars were
really in full swing. Pepsi began to use spokespeople to make an impact. This particular
advertisement features a young boy singing and dancing to a Michael Jackson, when suddenly
Jackson himself appears, dancing and singing. This served as advertising not only for Pepsi, but
also for Jackson himself. He was only just beginning to establish himself as a solo artist, as
opposed to a member of the Jackson 5.
This commercial aired on various television platforms during the early part of the 80s. It
was highly popular at the time, boosting both Jackson and Pepsi up.
Now ya see it, now ya don’t,
Here ya have it, here ya won’t,
Diet Pepsi, one small calorie,
Now ya see it, now ya don’t,
That great Pepsi taste,
Diet Pepsi won’t go to your waist,
Now ya see it, now ya don’t,
Diet Pepsi, one small calorie,
Now ya see it, now ya don’t.
Now You See It
The one big thing with this commercial is that Pepsi will help you lose weight. It uses
“show the product” and “show the benefit” as it’s message strategy. For the message formula, it
uses demonstration and spokespeople modeling their bodies.
The tactic of advertising the diet pop so specifically was that a new health trend was on
the rise—men and women were buying drinks labeled “diet” more than any others because they
believed that this title and the lack of calories would help them to lose weight, or keep the weight
off (www.benefitsoflife.org). Although the allegations that Diet Pepsi would make you lose
weight were incorrect, it boosted sales for the company.
Because of this trend, Diet Pepsi sold fairly well. This was maintained for a while, but
competition with Coca Cola lowered revenue.
“Like a Prayer” –
“Go ahead, make a
The one thing for this ad is that Pepsi is inspirational. It uses “show the product” and
“testimonial/case history” as its message strategy. For the message formula, it uses
This advertisement is meant to be inspirational, with Madonna singing her song “Like a
Prayer,” and at the end telling herself as a young girl to “Go ahead, make a wish.”
During the Cola Wars, Coke and Pepsi both turned to celebrities to gain more attention from
consumers. Prior to this Madonna commercial, the Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial was a
Initially, the “Make a Wish” commercial was hugely popular. However, when Madonna
released her own music video for “Like a Prayer,” a huge controversy ensued. In the video,
Madonna witnesses a rape and dances provocatively before a burning cross.
As a result of this video (and its huge popularity on MTV), many threatened to boycott
Pepsi (pophistorydig.com). Pepsi wound up dropping the ad and it was never shown again.
This ad does not have a clear message to it. They used a celebrity (David Hasslehoff)
which can help the corporations brand image. This uses a soft sell strategy because there are not
any hard statistics within it. Pepsi also goes with a humor stance because Hasselhoff is not being
serious in any sense. At the bottom of the ad it says “Dare For More” which is what became
Pepsi’s “catchphrase” in the 1990s-2000s.
The one thing for this ad is that Brittany Spears drinks Pepsi. It uses “show the product”
as its message strategy and has a spokesperson for its message formula.
This ad is a continuation of the usage of celebrity endorsement for Pepsi products. This
ad features Brittany Spears, who at that point was an up and coming solo artist as she exited her
This ad also features Pepsi Music, a website for artists being endorsed by Pepsi. It still
exists, with Artists of the Week, music videos, and a Pepsi shop.
In this ad, Pepsi is showing the benefit of Diet Pepsi, with the headline, “This year go to
the beach topless.” It shows the benefit of how Diet Pepsi will help your health, and with the
picture shown of the cap of a Diet Pepsi, it’s also ironic. Using the brand image message strategy
helps show that with Diet Pepsi, they are helping people around the world lose weight, and help
them gain that confidence of being able to go to the beach, and feel comfortable. Using
alignment, Pepsi moves you through the article, like you would read normally. The slogan is
almost like some song lyrics, saying you picked the right one, with Diet Pepsi. This ad was
featured in 1991.
Pepsi Cube Ad
In this ad, Pepsi definitely shows the product, with them all smashed in a cube, like they
would be if they were to be found in a recycling plant. This ad is hard to determine what kind of
message strategy they used because in most ways, it doesn’t seem like they use any of them. In
other ways, it could be an affective/anomalous ad because, while looking at the ad, with just the
cube of Pepsi cans, and the slogan “Dare for More”, the consumer could be left to wonder what
the One Thing could be.
Since this is a print ad, the design principle that was used was alignment; they move you
through the ad, with looking at the cube in the middle, which draws you down to the corner
where they put the slogan. The One Thing is still fuzzy because looking at the ad, you just see
the cube, and the slogan, and it leaves you wondering what Pepsi is actually trying to say here.
This ad featured in 2004.
Pepsi Twist: “Dip”
Pepsi and Coke were in a constant battle just trying to get pop sales up, in the 2000’s by
adding flavors to their signature tastes. They had already used vanilla and lemon in their drinks
and their next move was to add lime to their drinks. “While lemon- and vanilla-flavored drinks
have helped Coca-Cola and PepsiCo sales for short periods, U.S. sales of soft drinks have risen
less than 1 percent a year the past five years,”(Pepsi). In this ad, Pepsi also shows the product,
but it also shows the use of limes to help convey the new product.
This ad could be considered a unique selling proposition, Pepsi is conveying a brand new
feature to their products, and the way they convey in it in this ad, they use a very different
approach to it, and they also use the humor factor with making the limes, personified. The design
principle is alignment because the way it is set up, makes it easier to move through the ads.
Overall, I believe this ad conveys the One Thing very well, they are introducing a new feature/
product and they use in it a humorous way to get more of the consumers attention. This ad was in
Pepsi Polar Bear, “Uncle Teddy”
Coca-Cola is known for having their common commercials with Santa Claus and Polar
Bears, but in 2011, Pepsi decided to use the same exact concept as them. Pepsi and Coke have
always battled with each other using, similar advertising and even similar products. This concept
is also show the product by Pepsi, having a Polar Bear drink a can of Pepsi, but it could also be a
comparison ad, if the consumer’s know of Coke’s similar ads as well. The consumer would then
have to compare the two companies’ ads and decide their choice from that.
This ad is a Brand Image ad, because Pepsi is giving themselves superiority over Coke by
using the same exact ad that they had used. It could also be positioning without directly putting
they are better than their competitors. This ad is alignment because Pepsi moves you through it
easily. The One Thing is definitely broadcasted well, Pepsi is competing with Coke here, and by
using the same concept as they used, and they get that One Thing across. This ad premiered in
In 2012, Pepsi wanted to become more of a relevant force of the culture of today and
introduced their Live For Now campaign for the younger generations. “Pepsi is trying to reclaim
its old role as not only a curator but an arbiter of music and other aspects of popular culture, the
way it did with Michael Jackson ("choice of a new generation") in the 1980s and Britney Spears'
dance routine (which famously made Bob Dole drool) in the 1990s,”(Buss). Nicki Minaj was the
original poster child for the campaign with a commercial that aired in May. This ad, with Nicki
Minaj making an appearance, was a goal to help boost music sales and show that Pepsi is more
involved in the pop culture movement. “As PepsiCo's press release states, "'Life for Now' will
invite and inspire Pepsi fans to live each moment to the fullest through a breadth of global, pop-
culture platforms, including relationships with music and entertainment brand evangelists, digital
innovation, epic events and unique partnerships,”(Buss).
This new campaign uses social media and Pepsi wants the younger generation to
broadcast how they are living in the now. The concept is hard to determine because it is the
campaign to live for now, it doesn’t show the product or even show the benefit to that product.
Overall, these ads do show the One Thing very presently, with the clear cut images of the
younger generation living up their lives, and the words “Live For Now”. This started in 2012 and
continues into today.
Pepsi became the sponsor of the Super Bowl in 2012, and has decided the halftime show
entertainment for it. In 2013, Beyoncé was the halftime show, and they started printing ads for
her, towards the end of 2012 for the show in February of 2013. There were commercials, her face
on Pepsi pop cans, and print ads in magazines. This ad uses the concept of showing the product,
with the Pepsi logo painted on Beyoncé’s lips. The slogan that is used in the ad, helps fit the
scenario of the halftime show as well. These ads helped convey the One Thing very well of
watching the Super Bowl halftime show for the Beyoncé performance, along with getting more
consumers to buy Pepsi products leading up to the Super Bowl itself. This ad was featured in the
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