Pepsi has been the most popular carbonated soft drink at parties for several decades. How it became the most opted party drink has a deep history down the memory lane. Today, we’ll know Who Owns Pepsi?
Currently, this soft drink is owned by PepsiCo company and the product is now being sold in more than 200 countries. Let’s see what made Pepsi a brand in making.
What is Pepsi?
The American carbonated soft drink, Pepsi contains high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, caffeine, caramel color, sugar, and natural flavors. A can of Pepsi provides you with 150 calories. There is also a caffeine-free version of it with the same ingredients except for caffeine.
How did it start?
Pepsi was created in a drugstore in Northern Carolina, New Bern in 1893 by Caleb Bradham under the name, ‘Brad’s Drink’. In 1898 it was renamed as ‘Pepsi Cola’ as it became an antidote to dyspepsia (stomach upset) and ‘cola’ referred to the flavor of the drink. While some people thought that the name Pepsi came from the digestive enzyme ‘Pepsin’ but it was not the case.
The Bradham recipe also contained sugar and vanilla besides the refreshing cola flavor. The concept was to create a drink that cures digestion as well as boosts energy.
- The Bradham Era:
It was during 1903, that Bradham went up the ladder and rented a warehouse, and moved the bottling of ‘Pepsi-Cola’ from his drugstore.
- In the same year, he held a recorded sale of 7,968 gallons of syrup.
- From the following year, the drink came in a six-ounce bottle and the sales skyrocketed to 19,848 gallons.
However, in 1923, the company was bankrupted due to the wildly fluctuating sugar prices during the post-World War I period and he was forced to sell his assets to Roy .C. Megargel.
- The Megargel Era;
Though Roy .C. Megargel brought the Pepsi trademark, his era was short-lived and a blunder in the history of the company. The Megargel era was an utter failure for ‘Pepsi-Cola’ as he failed to restore the brand value of the drink that Caleb Bradham had achieved. He failed to fund the company and the shares went further below. It was thereafter bought by Charles Guth.
- The Guth Era:
Charles Guth, who was the then president of Loft, Inc, came in as a savior for the ‘Pepsi-Cola’ company. Loft Inc was a candy manufacturer with retail stores which have soda fountains. He planned to replace the soda fountains at his stores with Pepsi that were sponsored by Coca-Cola after they refused to give him additional discounts on syrup. Thereafter he let his chemists reformulate the ingredients of ‘Pepsi-cola’.
- The company gained popularity during the Great Depression with the introduction of 12-ounce bottles in 1934.
- From 1936 to 1938, Pepsi’s sell doubled disregarding the prevalent economic crisis.
- In 1940 Pepsi had their very own jingles which increased their sales further.
But Guth’s too much attention to Pepsi resulted in the bankruptcy of his candy manufacturing company. Since he had used the finance and facilities of Loft in reviving the dead company of Pepsi, the bankrupt company sued against Guth. The case reached the Delaware Supreme Court and it went in the complete favor of Loft Inc.
- The Steele Era:
Alfred Nu Steele was an ex Coca-cola vice-president of marketing. He held the lashes of the ‘Pepsi-Cola’ company in 1949 and worked magic with the company.
- In 1955 and 1957, the sales tripled under his management.
- He minimized the sugar content and introduced the drink to developing countries.
- Under him Pepsi built their own headquarter at 500 Park Avenue, New York City.
He worked for Pepsi till he died of a heart attack and his wife, Joan Crawford became an important board member for Pepsi and held her position till 1973.
- Rise of the PepsiCo:
In 1965, Frito Lay Inc and Pepsi Cola company formed an alliance which later came to be the leading PepsiCo Inc.
- In 1966, PepsiCo launched the ‘Pepsi Stuff’ strategy which became highly successful.
- They also launched a grand project in the name of ‘Project Blue’, which was first tested in the USA in June 1997 and was later released worldwide in 1998 to celebrate the company’s 100th birth anniversary.
- In 2005, PepsiCo created history by beating their age-old rival Coca-cola in market value for the first time in their 12 years of rivalry.
How it’s Going?
In 2008, Pepsi redesigned its logo and rebranded many of its products in early 2009. The blue and red globe trademark logos were forfeited and the new logo contained an extended central white band at different angles in the shape of a smiley up until 2010. According to Beverage Digest’s report 2008, PepsiCo’s US market share was 30.8%. Pepsi now holds a significant share in the carbonated soft drinks world coming as the 24th most popular drink across the globe and holding a record reach of 200 countries.
- Branding and Advertisement:
The earliest branding comes in 1909, from the automobile race pioneer, Barney Oldfield, who described it as, “A bully drink…refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before a race.” ‘Delicious and Healthful’ became the advertising slogan for the next two decades by the company.
In 1940, Pepsi had its first very own jingle, named, ‘Nikel Nikel’ recorded by the Tune Twisters, which goes like,
“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.”
It became the slogan of the company in radios, classic motion pictures, televisions, as time went by. With the development of radio, Pepsi went to the upcoming actress Polly Bergen to promote their products. Also, the renowned film actress, Joan Crawford appeared in several commercials, and television specials, for the company. The drink was also sponsored in her later films.
Pepsi in the later years was featured in numerous films like, Back to the Future (1985), Home Alone (1990), Wayne’s World (1992), Fight Club (1999), and World War Z (2013).
- Sports Sponsorships:
Not only advertising and branding but Pepsi holds the sponsorship deals with the National Hockey League, National Football League, and National Basketball Association. It also sponsored Major League Soccer and Major League Basketball up until 2015 and 2017 respectively. The company also held the naming rights for an indoor sports and entertainment facility in Denver, Colorado till last year.
Jeff Gordon, the retired driver from the NASCAR sprint cup series, signed a contract with Pepsi after he broke up his contract with Coca-Cola in 1997. Pepsi had been his sponsor ever since that day. He drove with the Pepsi logo on his car for two races a year, with a darker paint scheme during the night races. The company has also sponsored the ‘NFL Rookie of the Year’ award since 2002.
Pepsi sealed the first global sponsorships with the major European football leagues like the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Women’s Champions League during the 2015-16 season along with their sister brand, Pepsi Max. not only football but Pepsi has also sponsorship deals in international cricket. The Pakistani cricket team is sponsored by the company. The team wore the Pepsi logo on the front of their ODI and Test cricket jersey.
Pepsi-Cola sealed the sponsorship deal with ‘Buffalo Bisons’, an American Hockey League team in the later years. The team modified the wordmark ‘Pepsi’ with ‘buffalo’ keeping the rest of the red and blue globe trademark logo the same. The Bisons stopped their game in 1970 and made their way for the Buffalo Sabres of NHL.
Pepsi sealed a huge partnership deal with the Carolina Hurricanes from the National Hockey League and also sponsored them “Pepsi Caniac Coach” and “Pepsi Storm Squad”, the team bus and a cheer squad for the team respectively. In 2017, Pepsi also sponsored the jersey for the Papua New Guinea national basketball team.
The soft drink company has been rolling ever since and has gathered no moss. Currently, the company has become a worldwide phenomenon. From the chambers of Pharmacy to having its very own headquarters, the company has come a long way. Pepsi is easily one of those soft drinks that go with a salty snack break or after a full buffet of eating. This was never an overnight success, it took decades of hard work, failures, and sufferings for the owners to give the company the recognition it deserves and has today.
- Is Pepsi bad for your teeth?
Any carbonated drink if consumed heavily is bad for your teeth since sodas are highly acidic and they weaken your tooth enamel leading to tooth cavity. Consuming a moderate amount is not harmful.
- Who is better Pepsi or Coca-cola?
Currently, Coca-cola ranks 6th while Pepsi ranks 24th as favorites worldwide. However, it depends completely on you. Some prefer Pepsi over Coca-cola as it seems too acidic to them and some prefer coca-cola for the same reason.
- Is Pepsi owned by Coca-Cola?
No Pepsi is owned by PepsiCo but, Coca-Cola had their chances and not only a chance, they had three chances between 1922 to 1933 when they were offered the ‘Pepsi Cola’ company ownership but they declined on each occasion.