Pepsi is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by PepsiCo. Originally created and developed in 1893 by Caleb Bradham and introduced as Brad's Drink, it was renamed as Pepsi-Cola on August 28, 1898, and then as Pepsi in 1961.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, titled "Leaders in Their Fields", profiled twenty prominent African Americans such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche and photographer Gordon Parks.
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.
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.
Pepsi was introduced in Romania in 1966, during the early liberalization policies of Nicolae Ceaușescu, opening up a factory at Constanța in 1967. This was done as a barter agreement similar to the one in the USSR, however, Romanian wine would be sold in the United States instead. The product quickly became popular, especially among young people, but due to the austerity measures imposed in the 1980s, the product became scarce and rare to find. Starting from 1991, PepsiCo entered the new Romanian market economy, and still maintains a bigger popularity than its competitor, Coca Cola, introduced in Romania in 1992, despite heavy competition during the 1990s (sometime between 2000 and 2005, Pepsi overtook Coca-Cola in sales in Romania).
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 2004, advertising agency BBDO Paris produced a three-minute music video-style commercial for Pepsi featuring singers Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Pink as gladiatrices 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.
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 expression from a telephone keypad of the word "Pepsi". The same number is the SMS short code for Pepsi.
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 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 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 May 2018, 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.