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Pepsi branding and marketing strategies defined in history Essay

In 1893 Caleb Bradham experimented on several soft drink concoctions from his drug store at North Carolina. In 1898 the brand name was first introduced as Brad’s drink but later renamed to Pepsi Cola (Ads & history 2007) after the pepsin and cola nuts used in the recipe. Pepsi was first introduced as a fountain drink. It was about 750 microns wide 6 ounces straight sided bottle with paper labels glued to them and a non-descript crown on top. Price was reported to be costing for only a nickel. Advertisement before was done in signage and if you can read the arrow’s text it says: “look for the trademark” while the bottom label reads, “healthful and refreshing” (Davidson & FSU 2004).

In 1903 Caleb sold about 7,968 gallons using the line “exhilarating invigorating, aids digestion”. This also started his franchising activity to independent investors to about 24 states. In 1905 the logo was first changed then changed again in 1906. The slogan was also changed to the “original pure food drink” which gives a boost to sales of 38,605 gallons. In 1908 the company was the first to shift from horse drawn carts to motor vehicles mode of delivery. In 1909 Barney Oldfield endorsed Pepsi as “a bully drink… refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before the race.” In 1920 the theme was changed to “drink Pepsi cola, it will satisfy you”.

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In 1934 Pepsi cola replaced the 6 ounce bottle to 12 ounce bottle at the same price which is still a nickel. The shift was brought about by the high depression which demands for low cost products but high value. The 12 ounce bottle previously priced at ten cents was slashed to five cents which made a hit because it was of same value as the competitive colas of 6 ounce bottles. It was then known as the Pepsi legacy followed by skyrocketed sales giving the company a real good break.

In 1939 they pioneered the idea of a comic strip form of advertising in the newspapers introduced and named as Pepsi & Pete promoting the product as “twice as much for a nickel” which deliberately increased consumer awareness in the process. Pepsi cola was remarkably associated nationwide with two policemen that were patterned after the Keystone Kops and became extremely popular. In 1940 their nationwide advertising campaign theme was changed to: “Pepsi cola hits the spot, 12 full ounces, that’s a lot twice as much for a nickel too! Pepsi cola is the drink for you.”

At the same time, they launched the first jingle in the cola world known as “Nickel, nickel”. The jingle was recorded in fifty five different languages and produced over one million records played coast to coast on radio. It was well adapted by the consumers and those who have heard the jingle. Their jingles appropriately played to the perception and emotional-psychological responses of the consumers for even fifty years later some still remembered.

The logo was also changed to a simpler bolder rounded script letters that is really noticeable. Pepsi cola bottles adapted the embossed 12 ounce bottle designed and had the word Pepsi blown and baked into the side of the bottle while the paper labels were replaced as blown labels also. Pepsi cola began to tap the African American niche market and commenced advertising in a Negro newspaper lead by an all black sales team. They also sponsored a nationwide essay contest hiring African Americans professionals in the process. An advertisement specifically aimed for African Americans was modeled by a black mother holding a six packed Pepsi while the son was reaching out to the bottles.

In 1941, the crown was changed to red, white, and blue. This was done to support America’s war effort. They wisely set up a Pepsi canteen in Times Square New York. It served to help families’ record messages for overseas armed service personnel. In 1943 the theme twice as much included “bigger drink, better taste”. In 1947 one of their ad campaigns profiled prominent African Americans using the title “Leaders in their field”. Using racism as a selling point, their sales shot up dramatically. In 1949 the theme “why take less when Pepsi’s best” was added.

In 1950 the new logo incorporated the bottle cap look. Advertising was done by promoting Pepsi as an experience rather than a bargain. Slogan was changed to “more bounce to the ounce”. They relied and invested more with advertising that tripled their sales that year. The jingle was then changed to “have a Pepsi, the light refreshment”. In 1953 Americans became conscious with weight and health that they changed their slogan to “the light refreshment”. The formula was also changed with a reduced caloric content. In 1954 the slogan “refreshing without filling” was incorporated to the light refreshment theme.

In 1958 Pepsi was known as the kitchen cola as a result of its bargain branch longtime positioning. This time Pepsi targeted the young fashionable consumers. The slogan was changed to “be sociable, have a Pepsi”. The bottle was then changed to the swirl designed bottle replacing the old straight sided one. Along with it was the introduction of the ballroom dancing. In 1960 the slogan was changed to “now it’s Pepsi for those who think young”. It defines youth as a psychological state of mind it maintains its appeal for the post war young generation and to all market segments. Some commercials portrayed people going fishing.

In 1962 the logo was changed again with serrated bottle caps along with its Pepsi generation ads. In 1963 12 ounce bottles gave way to16 ounce bottles. Pepsi then introduced the 12 ounce Pepsi cans to the military for transport convenience. Their advertising history’s slogan was introduced as “come alive, you’re in the Pepsi generation” along with their jingle “come alive” also. Commercials usually portrayed sports and entertainment concept like motorbikes, amusement park and sand sailing.

In 1970 Pepsi introduced the first two liter bottles. They were also the first to respond to consumer’s need for light weight recyclable plastic bottles. In 1973 Pepsi changed its logo again. The slogan was also changed to “join the Pepsi people, feeling free” which is their very own interpretation of one people but with many personalities. In 1975 Pepsi introduced the Pepsi challenge marketing campaign where the results of the blind tasting test between Pepsi cola and its rival Coca cola was made public through television commercials. Participants picked Pepsi as the cola that taste better. As a result Coca cola changed their formula to taste more like Pepsi.

The slogan jingle was then “you’ve got a lot to live, Pepsi got a lot to give”. On that year  the two liter plastishield bottle was introduced. The theme is to promote to live and to give. In 1978 the 12 packed can were introduced to the market. In 1991 Pepsi introduced the first polyethylene terephthalate (PET) along with the changed of its new logo. In 1993 the slogan was changed to “be young, have fun” modeled by Shaquille O’Neal. In 2001 Britney Spears run her first Pepsi commercial doing her own version of “The joy of Pepsi”. In 2003 Pepsi cola has a new theme: “Pepsi it’s the cola.” It portrays popularity in the cola industry that goes from food to fun.


For decades Pepsi has defined itself as the slogan wizard that can closely associate with the times and changing lifestyle of the consumers. It has first introduced itself as a health drink which was the very reason why it has garnered a big portion of the cola market pie. As it continued to evolve in the market, it has studied its market well, and has well developed themes and slogans or activities that will create consumer awareness.

Marketing strategy has always been the challenge of any external environment and how you select your target market, know the needs of your market and penetrate by spending more on advertisements to create consumer awareness. And how Pepsi has penetrated consumers like the Blacks was by spending on advertisements promoting racism to equality and in return enjoyed skyrocketed sales.

Tactics will always change along with the evolution of logos, bottle designs, storyboard and jingles. Jingles and music have a very strong psychological effect on the minds of the consumers. It will always be remembered even if fifty years later. Jingles tune and lyrics stays more in the minds of the consumers longer than plain ads signage, commercials, and slogans. As we have noted Pepsi has been very sensitive with what is happening to its world politically and with the needs of its consumers as portrayed by their continuous changed of slogans and jingles.

Pepsi has always been portrayed to be part of the life of their target markets. It was never separated in commercials as plain features of the product but rather as something that consumers can greatly identify with themselves. Marketing was a silent warfare among leading competitors. What Pepsi did was to concentrate on specific untapped niche markets and evolved its theme to be able to maintain consumer database. Pepsi had always been keen to combine on product, price, market, and promotion sometimes as far as demographics and selection which always resulted to a captivated market. Pepsi realized that it should focus and play on product innovation and advertising first to promote the brand and not the reverse.

Their strong image was the result of directed marketing mix variables. The slogans were always guided by the concept of people and health as it was presented as a health drink in the first stages of its life. When Pepsi developed its campaign Pepsi generation portraying the product as a trendy drink for the young, it has made other cola products looked stodgy. Branding may offer instant product recognition or sort of identification but it was, for always, a result of effective advertising. Pepsi had successfully made the consumers identified themselves with the product by its series of jingles and slogans with just one unchanged brand name but packed with a lot of commercials and ads networking.

One thing for sure Pepsi was able to determine its market changing lifestyle, need, and taste and that the product needs to evolve along with the consumer’s trend. So advertising could well focus on the dominating activity of target market in the life cycle of the product. Perception and emotional responses of the consumers were of very important consideration on Pepsi’s approach in the process of creating consumer’s sense of identification with the product. The main thing that Pepsi had done is to link the product with the consumer and not the consumer linking self with the product. As a result they had a handful of loyal customer base.

Summary of Pepsi ads and logos

Year 1898: Introduction of Pepsi.

Packaging: 750 microns wide, 6 ounces straight sided bottle, paper labels glued to them, non-descript crown on top

Cost: nickel

Theme: Look for the trademark, healthful and refreshing.

Branding: Introduced first as Brad’s drink but was later changed to Pepsi cola.

Logo: Thin brand name Pepsi cola.

Packaging: 6 pack bottle as shown below.

Advertising: form of signage, please see image below:

Delivery: horse driven cart

Year 1903: start of franchising.

Theme: Exhilarating, invigorating, aids digestion.

Sales: 7,968 gallons

Logo: still the same.

Year 1905: Logo was first changed. The point is to make the letters bolder from the old thin ones. This is easier to read even at a distance.

Delivery: automobile delivery

Year 1909: Barney Oldfield

Endorsement: Barney oldfield, a racer, endorsed Pepsi.

Theme: A bully drink… refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before the race.

Advertisements: newspaper ads

Year 1920: Theme

Theme: Drink Pepsi cola, it will satisfy you

Year 1934: Pepsi legacy.

Price of product: changed from ten cents to five cents.

Packaging: 12 full ounce bottles.

Sales: skyrocketed.

Year 1939: comic strip

Comic strip: Pepsi & Pete

Advertising: newspapers

Effect of advertising: Pepsi cola was associated with the characters.

Theme: Twice as much for a nickel


Target market: Advertising targeting African Americans:

Year 1940: Jingle break


“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.”

Jingle: Nickel, nickel


Packaging: bottles are 12 full ounce with embossed Pepsi word and label.

Sponsored: Nationwide essay writing using Blacks

Year 1941: American war support

Crown: changed to red, white, and blue


Year 1943: Theme

Theme: Bigger drink, better taste

Year 1947: Blacks in ads

Theme: Leaders in their field

Year 1949: Theme

Theme: Why take less when Pepsi’s best

Year 1950: bottle cap

Slogan: More bounce to the ounce (energetic decade)

Logo: bottle cap with desc logo

Jingle: have a Pepsi, the light refreshment

Year 1953: Theme

Slogan: The light refreshment

Reason: to answer the weight conscious Americans

Year 1954: Theme

Slogan added: Refreshing without filling

Year 1958: Target

Target market: young and fashionable

Slogan: Be sociable, have a Pepsi

Bottle: swirl design

Trend: ballroom dancing

Year 1960: slogan

Slogan: Now it’s Pepsi for those who think young

Reason: Be young think young

Commercials: soda fountain, fishing

Year 1962: logo

Logo: logo was changed

Caps: serrated bottle caps

Year 1963: bottles volume

Bottles: shifted from 12 ounce to 16 ounce then to 12 ounce cans

Jingle: Come alive

Slogan: Come alive, you’re in the Pepsi generation.

Reason: Identifies with the consumers and not by the products attributes

Commercials: motorbikes, amusement park, sand sailing

Year 1970: bottles

Bottles: two liters

Year 1973: logo

Logo was changed

Slogan: Join the Pepsi people, feeling free

Reason: One people, many personalities

Year 1975: Pepsi challenge

Commercials: results of the Pepsi challenge was made public in TV

Jingle: You’ve got to live Pepsi got a lot to give

Bottle: introduction of two liter plastishield bottles

Year 1978:

Packaging: introduced the 12 packed cans

Year 1991:

Packaging: PET

Logo: changed

Year 1993: theme

Slogan: Be young have fun

Year 2001: theme

Slogan: The joy of Pepsi


Ads & history highlights (2007). Retrieved November 8, 2007

            Website: http://www.pepsi.com/help/faqs/faq.php?category=ads_and_history


Davidson, M. W. & FSU (2004). The Pepsi generation. Retrieved November 8, 2007

            Website: http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/creatures/pages/pepsi.html

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Pepsi branding and marketing strategies defined in history. (2017, Feb 19). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/pepsi-branding-and-marketing-strategies-defined-in-history-essay

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