We all have a distinct memory with Pepsi. Whether it’s mothers, fathers, grandparents, teenagers, children; every single one has their own memory of when they first fell in love with a Pepsi Slogan.

And today we’re here to go down memory lane and see how the Pepsi generation actually started.

Growing up my first hazy memory of Pepsi was Michael Jackson and the iconic Billie Jean song, rewritten for Pepsi. We all remember seeing the children’s expressions when they first saw Michael Jackson and danced the Thriller steps in the commercial.

Don’t forget to check our ultimate slogans guide

I wanted to be that kid, wearing that red jacket and all I wanted was a Pepsi at that very moment! But that’s my memory, I’m sure you all have different reminiscent moments that make you recall a Pepsi motto.

The History of Pepsi and the First Pepsi Slogan Ever

So what is the history of Pepsi slogans and where did it all start?

Believe it or not the inventor of Pepsi, Caleb Davis Bradham was studying medicine and working part time at a pharmacy, before it all started. Unfortunately (or fortunately) due to a family crises he had to drop out from his pursuit in medicine.

He moved on to opening a drug store, which became the very place where Pepsi-Cola was invented in 1893 and named as Brad’s Drink. This new flavored drink, became an instant hit and after 5 years in 1898, Bradham renamed it, to the now famous, Pepsi-Cola.

At that time he genuinely believed the drink was more than just refreshing, but actually a “healthy” cola, aiding in digestion, getting its roots from the word dysPepsia, meaning indigestion. And that’s where, the first decade of Pepsico Strategy for their slogans was first derived from Health and Digestion.

1903 – Exhilarating, Invigorating, Aids Digestion

1907 – Original Pure Food Drink

1908 – Delicious and Healthful

The Beginning of Refreshing Pepsi Slogans

In the beginning of 1900s, Barney Oldfield, an American pioneer automobile racer, whose name was synonymous with speed. He endorsed Pepsi in newspaper ads as “a bully drink … refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before a race.” This led Caleb to change the direction of Pepsi slogans towards Refreshing and Satisfying for the next decade.

1913 – Drink Pepsi-Cola. It Will Satisfy You

1915 – For All Thirsts – Pepsi-Cola

1919 – Pepsi-Cola – It Makes You Scintillate

1920 – Drink Pepsi-Cola – It Will Satisfy You

1928 – Peps You Up!

1929 – Here’s Health!

1932 – Sparkling, Delicious

1933 – It’s the Best Cola Drink

The Need of ‘Value for Money’

By this time, Refreshing and Healthy were two great strategic directions for Pepsi Marketing and worked well in boosting sales for the brand.

Even though the whole nation at this point was suffering the Great Depression, Pepsi-Cola managed to earn $1 million in sales with the a new leadership from Charles G. Guth.

The rough economic times led to the purchase power dropping and priorities for a 5 cents drink were very low. Thus Guth decided to change the Pepsico strategy and focus towards slogans that would call out Value for Money. He offered twice as much Pepsi for the same price as other soft drinks – a 12 ounce bottle of cola for just a nickel – and it was a big hit.

New president Walter S. Mack, believed that advertising could be a cornerstone of soft drink marketing. He introduced a comic strip, Pepsi & Pete to promote their offer and Pepsi slogan more aggressively. And then for the next decade, slogans geared towards a good mix of Value for Money, Healthy and Refreshing.

1934 – Twice as Much for a Nickel (Slogan)

1934 – Double Size

1934 – Refreshing and Healthful

1938 – Join the Swing to Pepsi-Cola

1939 – Twice as Much for a Nickel (Jingle)

When they find the Pepsi-Cola bottles are empty, their morale will go down another 10 points. 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!

Nickel, nickel, nickel, nickel, Trickle, trickle, trickle, trickle…

1943 – Bigger Drink, Better Taste

Pepsi retained its leadership with a catchy song about its low price. The tune “Nickel, Nickel” was the first advertising jingle to be played and heard all over the nation on radio, television and advertising history was made. It became so popular that it was recorded in 55 languages for nation-wide usage.

More than one million copies were released to jukeboxes, and the tune, renamed “Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot,” was even played in Carnegie Hall. In 1940, LIFE magazine declared the jingle “immortal.” In 2005, Advertising Age named it one of the top ten of the past century, commenting, “This (spot) came at a time when no one was using jingles.”

Patriotism and Victorious America Takes Over Emotions

Entering into the year of World War II, where men and women were in uniform serving their country overseas. Capturing the patriotic feelings of the nation, Pepsi-Cola adopted a new red, white and blue color scheme for its bottles and packaging.

After the war in 1945, Pepsico strategy was gearing towards ideas that would encapsulate the spirit of victorious America. So the long running “Nickel, Nickel” replaced the Pepsi slogan to “More Bounce to the Ounce”, here the focus was to capture the consumer behavior of the nation and execute a Pepsi marketing strategy that would connect with the consumer’ emotions.

1947 – It’s a Great American Custom

1949 – Why Take Less When Pepsi’s Best

1950 – More Bounce to the Ounce

The Shift Towards Health

The glamorous movie star Joan Crawford was the wife of then President, Al Steele. Many believe that her style and candor convinced Steele to focus on more sophisticated campaigns and move away from the “Value” theme. So in the 1950s, Pepsi slogans focused towards Lifestyle Accompaniment.

During that era, Americans had become more weight conscious and Pepsi marketing reflected this cultural shift. The focus became more towards Pepsi’s low caloric content.

1954 – The Light Refreshment

1955 – Refreshing Without Filling

It’s All About the Youth

In the late 1950s there was another shift, but this time in the Pepsi target market. New President of Pepsi, Donald M. Kendall, arranged for Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet Premier Khrushchev to visit Pepsi-Cola kiosk. The press snapped photos and newspapers read “Sociable” themed headlines.

By this time Pepsi was entering into a different direction of marketing. The first themed campaign to focus on young people, becoming Pepsi’s consumer target and eventually becoming Pepsi’s persona and brand identity.

For the next couple of years, Pepsi slogans were geared towards the youth.

1958 – Be Sociable, Have a Pepsi

1961 – Now It’s Pepsi for Those Who Think Young

Baby Boom – The Conviction of Pepsi Generation

The late 50s not only brought post-war, new type of emotions and attitudes but also brought about a new demographic phenomenon called the “baby boom”. A new generation, embracing a new lifestyle, with a conviction that what lay ahead is better than what lay behind. The consumer behavior was drastically changing and Pepsi adapted immediately, sensing the spirit they became to be known as the “Pepsi Generation”.

Welcoming the 60s with full vigor, Pepsi marketing changed their strategic direction for good. Running a daring campaign that set a new standard for advertising, capturing America living life to the fullest. At this point the consumers’ behavior was active, fun-loving thus to cater to the taste of a new generation slogans started revolving around Being Alive, Daring, Love Life to the Fullest – ideas and emotions that spoke to the Pepsi Generation.

Along with this attitude change people also started becoming health/weight conscious, thus a new product and variant was added to Pepsi-Cola that was developed for low calorie consumption – Diet Pepsi. Initially both were being advertised alongside each other, but Diet Pepsi ended up taking its own identity in the market. One of its earliest campaigns, “Girlwatchers,” was built around a catchy jingle that became so popular it was released as a commercial record and hit the Top 40 list.

1963 – Come Alive! You’re in the Pepsi Generation

1967 – Taste that Beats the Others Cold. Pepsi Pours It On

1969 – You’ve Got a Lot to Live. Pepsi’s Got a Lot to Give

1973 – Join the Pepsi People Feelin’ Free

That 70’s Vibe

The 70s had a very strong sense of style and attitude that exuded in the youth. Every single move; talking, walking, listening, clothing, had a strong vibe that the youth loved, appreciated and adopted. Pepsi marketing was exactly in line with this new era of change and ran a slogan that became a cultural phenomenon. Young people everywhere, were saying it like the next big tongue twister that must be tried and battled. This campaign made the Pepsi target market feel that it was speaking to them, a commercial that was their kind of language.

Fun fact about the Lipsmackin slogan: It was penned by Dave Trott, a junior writer at BMP. Pepsi’s brief was so long (with so many words like refreshing, modern, young, energizing, delicious, bubbly, and stylish) that he couldn’t get all of them in one line. Thus taking inspiration from a DJ on pirate radio channel who use to speak like “A real knuckle-cracking, thigh- slapping, foot-stomping, head-shaking, toe-tapping rocker” he came up with the famous Pepsi slogan.

1974 – Lipsmackin thirst quenchin (ace tastin motivatin good buzzin cool talkin high walkin fast livin ever givin cool fizzin) Pepsi

1976 – Have a Pepsi Day

1979 – Catch that Pepsi Spirit

1981 – Pepsi’s Got Your Taste for Life

1983 – Pepsi Now!

Pepsi & Pop Music Reign the World

The mid 80s introduced another ground breaking moment for Pepsi Generation and the marketing strategy was in line with the contemporary culture. More advertising history was being made, but this time the medium they used to connect with the consumers, was ‘Pop Music’.

Featuring the biggest entertainer of all time, legendary, Michael Jackson took forefront to Pepsi and it was a moment to cherish for all generations. Business and entertainment came together with his famous ‘Billie Jean’ series for Pepsi Cola commercials. This was a unique experience for people that they had never seen before.

This was Pepsi’s entry into a new era of celebrity partnerships and endorsements. The long list of superstars, who graced their presence with Pepsi were Pop music icons like Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, David Bowie, Glen Frey and Gloria Estefan. Sports also played a huge part in these collaborations thus, great names like Joe Montana and Dan Marino stood up for Pepsi.

The first woman vice-presidential candidate in the U.S., Geraldine Ferraro, starred in a Diet Pepsi spot. Cool-guy-from-the-block Michael J. Fox, brought his style, swag and spirit to a series of Pepsi and Diet Pepsi commercials. And of course we’ve all seen the Pepsi Perfect collaboration he brought forward in the movie “Back to the Future.”

1984 – The Choice of a New Generation

The Icons of the 90s

Pepsi went on to work with more celebrities and icons in the 90s that brought in a new generation of award-winning advertising and slogans.

  • Music legend Ray Charles, backed up by the “Uh-Huh Girls” – hit the beat with, “You Got the Right One Baby, Uh-Huh!” for Diet Pepsi
  • Supermodel Cindy Crawford introduced the new can packaging design
  • Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, told America to “Be Young, Have Fun, Drink Pepsi.”

Returning to a fan favorite slogan around Pepsi Generation, this theme was brought back for the new era of Pepsi consumers. ‘Generation Next’, became the fresh new look for Pepsi.

1992 – Gotta Have It

1993 – Be Young, Have Fun, Drink Pepsi

1995 – Nothing Else is a Pepsi

1996 – Drink Pepsi. Get Stuff / Change The Script

1997 – Generation Next

It’s All About Celebrity Endorsements!

Entering the new millennium, Pepsi generation was evolving and turning into first –class advertising, praised by all. “The Pepsi Girl” of the millennium, Hallie Eisenberg, launched Pepsi’s new “Joy of Cola” campaign. The campaign was serenaded by the voices of Marlon Brando, Isaac Hayes and Aretha Franklin. Faith Hill and KISS further added to the “The Pepsi Girl” spots.

The “Joy of Pepsi” slogan became a phenomenon because it featured iconic music and sports celebrities including the likes of Britney Spears, Pink, Enrique Iglesias, Christina Aguilera, Janet Jackson, Shakira and Beyoncé. Halle Berry, Oscar winner, also added her super stardom to Pepsi Twist.

1999 – Ask for More

1999 – For Those Who Think Young / The Joy of Pepsi-Cola

2001 – The Joy of Pepsi

2002 – Think Young Drink Young

2003 – It’s the Cola / Dare for More

2006 – Why You Doggin’ Me / Taste The One That’s Forever Young

2007 – More Happy / Taste The One That’s Forever Young

2008 – Pepsi Stuff / Pepsi Is # 1 / Something for Everyone

2009 – Refresh Everything / Every Generation Refreshes the World

2010 – Every Pepsi Refreshes The World       

And the Celebrity Endorsements Just Never Ended…

To connect with this new generation celebrity endorsements, became more aggressive globally. Celebrities became a figure that consumers aspired to be like. Every country would promote their own local icons from all entertainment avenues. For America, celebrities like Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, One Direction became the pop icons who endorsed Pepsi.

In the sports front, collaborations with soccer players increased due to the popularity of FIFA World Cup and English Premier Leagues, celebrities like David Beckham, Ronaldinho, Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi were appreciated.

NBA Basketball players and NFL American football players started coming in the forefront too with Pepsi endorsements.

2011 – Summer Time is Pepsi Time / Born in the Carolinas

2012 – Where There’s Pepsi, There’s Music / Change The Game / The Best Drink Created Worldwide

2013 – Live for Now

2015 till present – Out of the Blue / The Joy of Pepsi-Cola

The Pepsi Journey Continues…

So there you go, the evolution of how Pepsi slogans connected with people like you and I over generations. It’s an interesting journey to see how it all started from a little pharmacy, becoming a patriotic symbol to finally bringing in big names of entertainment to collaborate with business. Making this little product, a big empire and part of every family’s home.

What are some of your favorite memories with Pepsi?

Source: Pepsi Legacy Book


9 years of experience working on communications strategy, integration planning, account management and digital strategy across a wide variety of clients in CPG, Financial, Pharmaceutical, Fast Food, Amusement Parks and Fashion industries.

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