Pepsi's Advertising History

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PepsiCo, Inc.

I chose Pepsi because I decided it would be interesting to see how the company started out and what kinds of marketing strategies they used that makes them into the huge success story they are today. Here’s what I’ve discovered and it is quite an impressive story:

In 1898, in North Carolina, a pharmacist named Caleb Bradham began experimenting with juices and spices and syrups looking for something to quench the thirst of his customers on some of the hot humid days. Low and behold before it was all said and done, he had invented the drink we know today as Pepsi-cola.

It wasn’t until 1903 that Pepsi was patented and Bradhams first ever advertizing sell went along with his pharmacist concoction, “Exhilarating, invigorating, and aides indigestion.´ He initially mixed the soda himself and distributed it through his soda fountain and then decided to bottle it so people could drink it anywhere.

By 1909, the Pepsi bottle logo had been changed 3 times, 15 bottling plants had opened up, the slogan became, “The Original Pure Food Drink” and Pepsi was trade marketed in Mexico and Canada. Also by that time Mr. Bradham had gotten himself some of the best advertisement available at the time. He had a celebrity endorser for a race car named Barney Oldfield. Barry appeared in news paper ads describing Pepsi-cola as “a bully drink – refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer for a race.”

In 1920 Pepsi’s new motto was “Drink Pepsi-cola. It will satisfy you.” But by 1923, Bradham wasn’t worried about his motto or slogan; he was worried about the rising cost of sugar. So worried in fact that after it hit 26 cents per pound, he stocked up on it tremendously afraid it would go even higher and then it fell to an all time low of 2 cents per pound. By 1923, Bradham was bankrupt and then Pepsi –cola was sold off to Craven Holdings Corporation for $30,000. It was then sold to Roy C. Mega gel for $35000 and he formed the Pepsi Cola Company. It took until 1934 for Pepsi to come up with the best marketing idea yet. It began selling its 12 ounce bottles of soda for only 5 cents – the same price as the competitor’s 6 ounce bottle. 1939 brought a whole new look at the value of Pepsi. A cartoon strip, “Pepsi and Pete” introduced the theme “Twice as much for a nickel “to reinforce the huge value advantage of the soda Pepsi. By 1940 Pepsi makes nationwide history because their jingle”Nickle, Nickel” was broadcast nationwide and became a hit record. It was translated into 55 different languages.

In1941 Pepsi wanted to support Americas War Efforts so it changed its bottles to red, white and blue. There also opened up a Pepsi Canteen place in Times Square, New York that operated all year long and enables more than 1 million families to record messages for armed service personnel overseas.

Eventually in 1950 Pepsi was forced to raise its 12 ounce bottle prices to a competitive level so their slogan became “More Bounce to the Ounce” and the logo was changed again. As Americans became more weight conscious, Pepsi decided they would be a prime opportunity as a target market. That’s when “The Light Refreshment “and “Refreshing without filling” slogans came in. Pepsi went after another new target market in 1958 when the company decided it didn’t just want to be known as “the kitchen cola” because of it being considered such a bargain brand. Pepsi started identifying itself with the young, fashionable consumers using the new “Be Social, Have a Pepsi” slogan. A swirl was then added to the straight necked bottle of the past. In 1961 Pepsi saw the opportunity to further define its target market by recognizing the importance of the younger post-war generation. “Now its Pepsi, for those who think Young” defines youth as a state of mind. 1963 brought about one of the most significant phenomenon’s in commercial history because the post-war baby boomers emerged on society and in the market place. Pepsi took advantage...
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