1950's: Era of Steele and Crawford
1950 - Logo Style
1950 - Logo Style

  • Alfred Steele, who was once a former Coca-Cola vice-president of sales, became the company president and chief executive officer. 15 other former Coke executives also joined the company. He made outstanding contributions to the company's marketing campaigns along with his wife Joan Crawford, famous actress.

  • This is what Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter, Christina,had to say about Alfred Steele in her memoir of Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest: “[Steele had] driven Pepsi into national prominence and distribution, second only to his former employer, Coca-Cola. Pepsi was giving Coke a run for its money in every nook and hamlet of America. Al Steele welded a national network of bottlers together, standardized the syrup formula, brought the distinctive logo into mass consciousness, and was on the brink of going international.” Shortly after their marriage the company’s name changed to Pepsi-Cola International LTD because the company was undergoing global expansion.

  • During this time period the company had to raise their prices of pepsi-cola in order to compete in the soft-drink market.

  • Some of Steele’s contribution to the marketing of the brand was advertising campaigns such as, 'Be Sociable, Have a Pepsi' or “More bounce to the ounce”. He was trying to associate Pepsi as a drink which is part of one’s identity; the drink is an experience rather than a commodity. His heavy investment on the advertisement of Pepsi using television and the radio was successful since it returned the company to its profitable stages.

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More Bounce to the Ounce - James Dean Commercial

  • It is believed that Joan Crawford was a big inspiration to the company’s marketing strategy because she was famous as a glamorous, sophisticated actress. Pepsi changed their bottling style and added swirl to the bottle design and adapted a more lifestyle based campaign as opposed to a “value” theme. The actress would usually keep a bottle of Pepsi at hand during press conferences and would mention the product during interviews, television talk shows, radio interviews, etc; she went as far as to displaying Pepsi products in the background of her films.

Joan Crawford at a press conference

  • During 1953 – 1955 Canadians and Americans were becoming more aware of their bodies and health. Pepsi introduced ‘Light Refreshment’ campaign that later changed to “Refreshing without Filling” and lowered the sugar level in their drinks


Pepsi (1960)
Pepsi (1960)

Pepsi (1959)
Pepsi (1959)

  • “Under the Cap” campaign – 1957 in Canada

  • At the 1959 American Exposition in Moscow, Donald M. Kendall, who was the president of Pepsi International Ltd. requested Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet Premier Khrushchev to visit the Pepsi-Cola booth, where they were photographed together drinking Pepsi. The pictures were headlines across many newspapers around the world. The drink received a lot of international press and it really helped boost their sales globally.

President Nixon with Premier Khrushchev

1960s: The Pepsi Generation
1962 - New Logo
1962 - New Logo

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  • Pepsi started realizing the importance of gearing their marketing more towards the post-war generation who were mostly young. The new youth oriented campaign was “Now it’s Pepsi, for Those Who Think Young”.

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  • The 60’s was also known as the post-war baby boom which lead to a boost in marketing that was targeted more towards a younger generation who were born to ones that suffered during the Depression Era. This generation was unaware of their parents’ pasts and they were more carefree and happy. Pepsi recognized this and introduced a whole new appeal with the campaign “Come alive! You're in the Pepsi Generation.” This campaign made history because it spoke to everyone as a lifestyle choice and it gave Americans the meaning of living life to the fullest.

Pepsi Generation

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  • In 1964 the Pepsi-Cola company rebranded its Patio Diet Cola and marketed it as Diet Pepsi. It was the first diet cola that was nationally marketed in the States as well as Canada
  • During 1966 Diet Pepsi has its first media campaign called the “Girlwatchers” where they illustrated the cosmetic benefits of the low-calorie cola. This was so popular that the musical reached the Top 40 charts

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1970: Diversification
New Logo in 1973
New Logo in 1973

Have A Pepsi Day

  • During the early 1970s the campaign for Pepsi was 'Join the Pepsi people, feelin' free.' It reflected the political and social changes that the nation was undergoing. It gave people a sense of the idea that everyone is different, everyone is accepted and comes together to build one nation
  • Other campaigns: “You’ve Got a Lot to Live. Pepsi’s Got a Lot to Give”, "Have a Pepsi Day" and "Catch the Pepsi Spirit"
  • Different packaging was being introduced. For example, the 12-ounce bottles were replaced by the 16-ounce sizes
  • They also became the first American company to introduce one-and-a-half and two-liter bottles.
  • Glass bottles were being replaced with plastic bottles which were lightweight and strong.
  • In 1972 the Canadian government introduced the metrication system during packaging. Thus another change came about in the packaging of Pepsi products.
The Different Bottle Sizes
The Different Bottle Sizes

  • There was a fierce competition between Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Therefore the term Cola Wars were introduced. During 1975 The Pepsi Challenge was used as a marketing strategy. This strategy helped the company trump Coca-Cola sales by proving to millions of people that Pepsi tasted better than Coke when consumers were blinded and asked to taste both drinks.


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  • Due to the effective marketing in 1976 Pepsi became the largest selling soft drink in North America. The commercial “Puppies” which features a little boy playing with lots of puppies during his visit to his grandmas became one of the most popular ads during that time. The Pepsi Challenge was introduced to Canada. This lead to the Canadian company to adapt the slogan “More and more every day, everywhere Canadians are discovering the Great Taste of Pepsi.”
  • During 1977 the Canadian government banned using saccharin in diet soft drinks. This is why Pepsi Cola had to substitute the banned ingredient with Fructose and advertised the new campaign as ‘Bet You Won’t Taste the Difference.’
  • The 12-pack cans are introduced to the markets.

1980: The Cola Wars
Logo remained the same
Logo remained the same

  • One of the campaigns during this era was the ‘Look Who’s Drinking Pepsi Now!’ This campaign is backed by hard facts and research that followed The Pepsi Challenge strategy.
  • Donald M. Kendall, who was responsible for the company’s rapid growth not just in North America but in the global aspect and claiming so much market share, contributed to the idea that Pepsi should be marketed in fast-food restaurants. Burger King was one of the first fast-food chains who started selling Pepsi brands to its customers.
  • Such growths also lead to the introduction of the 3 litre bottles.
  • In 1982, Pepsi Free started being manufactured to appeal to the consumers who were concerned of the use of caffeine
  • One of the most successful campaigns of Pepsi was launched. It was known as “Pepsi. The Choice of a New Generation”. This ad campaign proved to be one of the most successful because it appealed to the new generation by having mega stars during the 80s star in their commercials. The first two commercials featured Michael Jackson and they were known to be "the most eagerly awaited advertising of all time." Throughout the 80s many superstars were cast in Pepsi ads. Some of the stars included icons like Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, David Bowie, Glen Frey and Gloria Estefan and sport legends like Joe Montana and Dan Marino. Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman vice-presidential candidate in the U.S. also starred in a Diet Pepsi spot. Michael J. Fox appeared in commercials for Pepsi and Diet Pepsi where he showcased his special talents and one such classic commercial was the “Apartment 10G”. However in Montreal this campaign had a major setback and in order to boost its popularity they used the same campaign starring popular Quebec comedian Claude Meunier which proved to be very successful.
  • After 27 years in 1987 Pepsi finally returned to displaying a huge 850-square foot electronic billboard with the slogan that said Pepsi was "America's Choice."
  • Another famous Michael Jackson appearance in a four-part episodic commercial called “Chase” which was premiered during the Grammys became known as the “most-watched commercial in advertising history.”
    The Famous Chase Advertisement by Michael Jackson
    Pepsi used a very edgy style in this ad. The whole theme of Michael doing adventurous things and the way he drove the sportscar had a more "bad" theme to it

  • In 1989 "The Choice of a New Generation" campaign revolved to become "A Generation Ahead!" The Company also manufactured the Wild Cherry Pepsi.
  • During the same time PepsiCo invested in a multi-million dollar program in high schools in Dallas and Detroit known as the Pepsi School Challenge. This program was designed to stop the increasing number of student dropouts in high schools.
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson

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Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie

Diet Pepsi Commercial by Michael J. Fox

1990: Focusing on International Growth and Diversification
1991 a new logo is introduced
1991 a new logo is introduced

  • During the 90s teen stars like Fred Savage and Kirk Cameron also started joining the "New Generation” campaign. Another notable celebrity who contributed towards advertising Diet Pepsi was Ray Charles who teamed up with the Uh-Huh Girls and the slogan for the commercial was “You Got The Right One Baby” which was later changed to "You Got The Right One Baby, Uh-Huh."

Ray Charles with the Uh-Huh Girls

  • In Canada, The Diet Pepsi Drive Train Tour was launched. The cross-country train trip featured many Canadian musicians who were greeted by thousands of people, and MuchMusic used to air the tour.

  • Pepsi-Cola modified its package and logo which was introduced by supermodel Cindy Crawford in an award winning commercial.

Cindy Crawford introduces new logo and packaging. The ads had a 'sexy' theme to it

  • The Pepsi School Challenge also won the U.S Department of Labor “LIFT” Award for its contributions towards improving academic performances of students and training them for the workforce.

  • In May of 1992, Pepsi launched the campaign “Gotta Have It,” which offered discounts on the products of marketing partners Reebok sporting goods, Continental Airlines, and the MCI long-distance telephone company.

  • During the 1992 Pepsi appointed basketball superstar Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson along with publisher Earl Graves as company franchisees in Washington, D.C. and their companies grew to be one of the largest African-American owned in the States.

  • The Shaquille O’Neal, basketball superstar, campaign “"Be Young, Have Fun, Drink Pepsi" became one of the most popular advertisements of that era.

  • In 1994 the company also announced that they would start packaging their products with the expiration dates mentioned on them. This definitely attracted new consumers.

  • Diet Pepsi also started its “Forever Young” marketing strategies during 1999 across Canada

  • During the 90s, American CEO Enrico encouraged the ‘Power of One’ marketing strategy to grocery retailers. This strategy claimed that if you put soft drinks near the snacks aisles, sales of both item would increase because consumers may buy drinks in order to quench their thirst after having the chips. This is sort of store arrangement can be found in many groceries all across the world.

  • Pepsi launched its website in 1996. Their website quickly became popular as a entertaining and innovative site. They made their mark on the Internet and started advertising on the net.

First Website of Pepsi
First Website of Pepsi

  • The new campaign “Generation Next” was launched in order to create a brand image of Pepsi that young, fresh and creative. It gave the soft drink its own different qualityof being edgy.

  • In 1998 Pepsi launches its new look, called "Globe," which prominently features astylized, three-dimensional Pepsi Globe set against a blue ice backdrop. This new logo appeared on vending machines, cans, bottles, and everything that Pepsi represented.

New Logo
New Logo

  • In 1999, Pepsi-Cola was the exclusive global beverage partner for the movie blockbuster Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Consumer excitement surrounding the long-awaited return of the Star Wars series were even more heightened as special Pepsi bottles and cans offered 24 different Star Wars characters. The collection series includes a gold Yoda can.

Pepsi Collectible Items
Pepsi Collectible Items

2000 & Onwards: Beginning of a new millennium
  • The “Joy of Cola" campaign started and featured young actress, Hallie Eisenburg, who later became known as the “Pepsi Girl” and the voices of actors Marlon Brando, Isaac Hayes and Aretha Franklin who was the “Queen of Soul.”

    Hallie Eisenburg, Pepsi Girl, commercial with Aretha Franklin in the back and she is singing

    Pepsi Commercial - Parody of Godfather with Pepsi Girl

  • Singing sensation Faith Hill and Major League Baseball All-Stars Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr. also starred in many Pepsi commercials
  • During this time, Pepsi was involved in sponsoring many sports programs so that youth were able to participate in them. This helped grow Pepsi’s popularity among diverse generation of youth

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  • Pepsi has official sponsorship deals with three of the four major North American professional sports leagues: the National Football League, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. Pepsi also sponsors Major League Soccer. Pepsi also has sponsorship deals in international cricket teams.
  • Singing sensation of the new generations such as Britney Spears, Shakira and Beyonce also joined the “Joy of Cola” campaigns.
  • As the world is changing and technology is taking over, Pepsi’s marketing strategies are also keeping pace with the popular culture. After partnering with Yahoo! the "Pepsi Stuff” campaign was launched. It allowed consumers to redeem points from specially marked packages of Pepsi products and win more than a half-million cool prizes online. This proved to be Pepsi's most popular online promotion ever.
  • Pepsi unveiled its Fun Wraps Factory strategy which allowed consumers to personalize Pepsi cans using their own fun designs or messages. This appealed to a wide variety of customers all over the world and can be considered as a marketing strategy where the company is keeping the customers at the top.
  • Pepsi also partnered with Apple Computer, Inc. and its red-hot iTunes site and iPod portable music player to create a sweepstakes giving away free downloads and other prizes.
  • Pepsi also advertises its soft drinks by sponsoring many musical concerts all over the world.
  • Pepsi uses various media tools to market its products across the world such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social networks depending on the country. However one thing that is common on almost every Pepsi websites is their homepage which usually contains information of the current campaign of the company. Some have videos or pictures of the current actions or commercials in that region. They all have information about the different products and their nutrition facts and links to other official Pepsi sites. It can be understood from the look of the websites that Pepsi wants to achieve this image of happiness, freshness and youth.
  • According to recent Forbes Article, the company is planning to introduce Pepsi Next which will have the taste of regular Pepsi but have 60% less sugar content and calories. This will appeal more to the public because some people like the taste of Pepsi but refuse to drink it in fear of risking their health. Actress Eva Longoria is said to be the spokesperson for the upcoming drink and the slogan would be ‘Drink it to Believe it’.

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Some facts about Pepsi

1. PepsiCo is a huge corporation with the annual profit around 60 billion US Dollars, on the 50th place in Fortune 500 companies in 2010 (CNNMoney, 2010)

2. PepsiCo is represented in more than 200 countries around the world

3. After advertising for 23 consecutive years in the NFL Superbowl games, Pepsi avoided doing the same in the year of 2012 in order to promote the ‘Pepsi Refresh’ project. This was a cause-related marketing strategy where the company allowed young people to come up with ideas about how they can bring about a change. Pepsi gave away $20 million in grant money to fund projects in health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods and education. There were 77 million participants out of which 17% were voting using social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. These marketing strategies are current and a very different way to reach out to the young people and make them feel as if they are important enough to have a say.

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  3. Chirkova, Alexandra, A. (2011, May). Pepsi across cultures: analysis and cross-cultural comparison of pepsi websites. Retrieved on April 12, 2012 from http://gupea.ub.gu.se/bitstream/2077/26744/1/gupea_2077_26744_1.pdf
  4. Trefis Team. (2012, April 09). Forbes. Retrieved on April 12,2012 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2012/04/09/pepsico-bubbles-to-71-by-boosting-soft-drink-sales/
  5. Preston, J. (2011, Janurary 30). Pepsi bets on local grants, not the super bowl. Retrieved on April 12, 2012 from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/business/media/31pepsi.html
  6. Klara, R. (2013, October 13). Adweek.com. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/perspective-generation-appreciation-135561
  7. Patti Summerfield. (2012). Pepsi in Canada: highlights of the first 75 years. Retrieved February 05, 2012, from http://strategyonline.ca/2010/04/01/pepsitimeline-20100401/
  8. Reynolds, A. (2002). A brief pepsi history. Retrieved from http://www.sirpepsi.com/pepsi11.htm
  9. http://www.adbranch.com/timeframe/1950_1980/?brand=pepsi
  10. http://www.americanartarchives.com/pepsi.htm
  11. http://oldpepsiads.blogspot.ca/2007/07/pepsi-history.html