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The current Pepsi logo

Pepsi or Pepsi-Cola, is a carbonated cola soft drink manufactured by PepsiCo, and the principal rival of Coca-Cola.



Pepsi was first made in New Bern, North Carolina, in the early 1890s, by pharmacist Caleb Bradham and was originally called "Brad's drink". It was made of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, rare oils, pepsin and kola nuts. As Pepsi was initially intended to cure stomach pains, Bradham coined the name Pepsi from the condition dyspepsia. The name was trademarked on June 16, 1903.

Caleb Bradham, like many pharmacists at the turn of the century, had a soda fountain in his drugstore, where he served his customers refreshing drinks that he created himself. This is where Pepsi was first served.

After seventeen years of success, Caleb Bradham lost Pepsi Cola. Believing that sugar prices would rise, he gambled on the commodities market. Sugar prices fell and Pepsi Cola went bankrupt in 1923.

In 1931, Pepsi Cola was bought by the Loft Candy Company. Its president, Charles G. Guth, later reformulated the popular soft drink.

Pepsi first achieved success by selling its drink in recycled beer bottles, which allowed it to sell larger bottles for lower cost than Coke. Pepsi thus became viewed as the soft drink of the lower classes. In the United States, Pepsi was viewed as the drink of blacks and in Canada it was viewed as the drink for the Francophone Qubcois.

In 1940, history was made when the first advertising jingle was broadcast nationally. The jingle was "Nickel Nickel," an advertisement for Pepsi Cola, referring to its price. "Nickel Nickel" became a hit record and was recorded in 55 languages.

In the 1950s Pepsi poured great resources into trying to improve its image. It bought many television ads and began its long tradition of employing celebrities to sell its product. It grew and became a serious rival of the Coca-Cola corporation, but was still firmly in second place.

In the 1960s, Pepsi originated the marketing strategy known as "The Pepsi Generation". This strategy involved constant, repetitious advertising of Pepsi, aimed at young people. It worked under the assumption that there are new consumers coming of age every day, and if one stops marketing to the newest consumers, one will have a shrinking base of established consumers of one's product. With the aging of the baby boomer generation, the advertising of Pepsi changed toward an idea, never directly stated but constantly implied, of the drink that keeps one's youth.

In 1964, sugar-free Diet Pepsi was introduced.

In 1982, caffeine-free Pepsi Free and Diet Pepsi Free were introduced.

In the early 1980s, Pepsi began a series of advertisements called the "Pepsi Challenge", in which it directly compared its product to that of Coca-Cola, showing that people preferred their product over the competitor's (and Coca-Cola's own research showed similar results). Coca-Cola, at that time, was suffering reduced sales, and made a mistake of its own in changing the formula for its product — the new formula to be called New Coke — possibly in response to the Pepsi Challenge. This period of fierce competition between the two companies became known as the cola wars.

In 1984, then pop phenom Michael Jackson signed a multi million-dollar endorsement deal which was also a cross-promotion of his and his brothers' "Victory" tour, which Pepsi sponsored. Two commercial spots were aired featuring the Jacksons dancing with a group of neighborhood kids, including a young Alfonso Ribeiro, in a concert setting. An interesting anecdote, Michael Jackson's hair caught fire while filming one of the commercials, due to a pyrotechnic mishap.

The year 1989 saw the rise of the "Madonna Controversy." Pepsi reportedly paid Madonna $5 million for a world-wide promotional campaign tied to her song Like A Prayer. Pepsi, however did not see her video for the song until after the campaign began. When executives viewed her video, they promptly pulled the Madonna Pepsi commercials due to her use of burning crosses and other controversial images in her video.

Summer 1990 brought Pepsi “Cool Cans” in four special-edition designs, which drew even more attention than expected after the discovery that the “neon” variant could be stacked to spell out S-E-X (story at (

1996 The "Buy Pepsi, Get Stuff" campaign offered a Harrier Jump Jet for 7 million "Pepsi Points" as a joke in one of their commercials. Pepsi Points could be purchased for $0.10 each, making the price of the jet $700,000, a small fraction of the actual value of $33.8 million. A court ruled that the offer was obviously a joke and Pepsi did not have to provide the jet to man who had purchased the necessary points. This was also the year when Pepsi ridiculed Coke in India. Coke had got one up over Pepsi by becoming the official drink of the World Cup 1996. However, Pepsi got the top cricketers in India at that time in one ad with the slogan 'Nothing official about it'.[1] (

1998 became a year of introduction for the GeneratioNEXT campaign which pitched a futuristic view of the company to youth. The Spice Girls were used in this campaign (and the song used, "Move Over", ended up on their second album, Spiceworld). NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon was also used as a symbol for fast, young, and powerful. Pepsi is often the most common drink at sports events, such as Major League Baseball, as well as arena-sized concerts. During the fall of 1998, Pepsi introduced Pepsi ONE, followed by an ambitious advertising campaign with the main slogan of "just one calorie." The cola introduced the use of Acesulfame potassium and aspartame to attain one calorie (Pepsi reformulated Pepsi ONE in 2005, and Pepsi ONE is now Splenda based).

The company teamed up with George Lucas's reintroduction of Star Wars to the big screen during the summer of 1999. Twenty-four characters from the Star Wars series were introduced as artwork on the cans over the summer, creating an emphasis for a collectible set. This created a huge market saturation for awareness of the movie as momentum increased.

Pepsi's 2004 slogan was "Ask for more." Pepsi also changed the labels on all Pepsis sold in Texas (where it is the third most popular soft drink, behind Dr Pepper), renaming the drink "Pepsi S" in a move hoping to attract a larger Latino demographic (which largely drinks Coca-Cola), in aims that they might say yes to Pepsi


Main article: Pepsi spokespersons

As with many soft drinks, Pepsi (and its associated beverages) has had various celebrity spokespersons throughout its existence. Hundreds of various celebrities have advertised for the many beverages that fall under the Pepsi banner.

Criticisms of the Pepsi-Cola product

Suspected adverse long-term health effects of phosphoric acid

Some nutritionists assert that the phosphoric acid component of Pepsi-Cola and other similar soft drinks may be deleterious to bone health in both men and women, with some studies finding the effects to be more notably pronounced in female subjects. See phosphoric acid in food.


An excess intake of sugar has been suspected as a contributory factor in certain kinds of diabetes, often co-associated with obesity, to which excess caloric intake (relative to caloric expenditure from exercise) is suspected as a primary factor. Sugar of course is also a leading contributor to tooth decay.

Accusations made against Pepsi

Coca-Cola was banned from import in India in 1970 for having refused to release the list of its ingredients. In 1993, the ban was lifted, with Pepsi arriving on the market shortly afterwards. One study led by the Center for Science and the Environment (CSE), an independent laboratory in New Delhi, found that the soft drinks contained residues of dangerous pesticides, with one dose 36 times greater than the European standard for Pepsi, and 30 times greater for Coca-Cola. The presence of these products could provoke cancers, negatively affect the nervous and immune systems, and cause birth defects. No law bans the presence of pesticides in drinks in India.

In response to the news, numerous Indians burned bottles of these two brands of soft drinks in the streets. The Indian government asked for a comparable study of soft drink bottles destined for markets in the United States.

On December 7, 2004, India's Supreme Court ruled that both Pepsi and competitor Coca-Cola must label all cans and bottles of the respective soft drinks with a consumer warning after tests showed unacceptable levels of residual pesticides. Both companies continue to maintain that their products meet all international safety standards without yet implementing the Supreme Court ruling.

A 1996 lawsuit also accused Pepsi of fraud, stating that "PEPSI, by and through its nationally advertised television commercial featuring a new Harrier Jet, made knowingly false statements and representations . . . concerning its offer of the new Harrier Jet as one of the prizes which could be obtained in the Pepsi Stuff promotional campaign"[2] (

Other Pepsi Products

(listed alphabetically)

For a list of non-Pepsi products made by PepsiCo, see PepsiCo.

Restaurant holdings

Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC are spun-off by PepsiCo in 1997, as the same company created by Tricon Global Restaurants (now known as Yum! Brands, Inc.). The same company has been merchandised into home originals and other available products and recipes in grocery stores and many other stores everywhere in North America.

Rivalry with Coca-Cola

Coke still outsells Pepsi in almost all areas of the world. The Canadian provinces of Prince Edward Island and Quebec are some of the few exceptions. Pepsi had long been the drink of Francophones and it continues to hold its dominance by relying on local Qubcois celebrities (essentially Claude Meunier, of La Petite Vie fame) to sell its product. "Pepsi" eventually became an offensive nickname for Francophones viewed as a lower class by Anglophones in the middle of the 20th century. The term is now used as an historical reference to French-English linguistic animosity. Other regions where Pepsi outsells Coke are in central Appalachia, the state of North Dakota, and the city of Buffalo (by a 2-1 margin) all in the USA. More importantly, Pepsi outsells its rival in grocery and convenience stores in the United States (regarded as an indicator of consumer preference), with Coca-Cola's dominance in exclusive restaurant, movie theater, amusement park, college, and stadium deals giving Coke the overall sales advantage. In the United States, Pepsi's market share was about 31.7 in 2004, while Coke's was about 43.1.

External links

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