Think all cola is the same? Think again. Throughout the twentieth century, soda consumers around the world have formed fierce loyalties in the so-called Cola Wars. Pepsi’s sales may come in second to those of Coca-Cola, its largest competitor, but Pepsi’s notably sweeter, more citrus-y taste continues to dominate in blind taste tests, including our own at The Daily Meal.
But there’s more to Pepsi than meets the eye –– or taste buds, for that matter. The soda was created by drugstore owner Caleb Bradham, who sold it at his soda fountain under the name “Brad’s Drink” until he changed its name to “Pepsi-Cola” in 1898. The brand retained its full name until 1961, when it was simplified to the “Pepsi” we know and love today. But like its name, the brand has been no stranger to change over the last century. Since its debut, Pepsi has been a powerful player in pop culture, technology, and politics, in the United States and abroad.
1. Thanks, Brad
Created by drugstore owner Caleb Bradham, Pepsi was originally named “Brad’s Drink” before Bradham changed the name in 1898.
2. Up to the challenge
In the famous “Pepsi Challenge” marketing campaign, introduced in 1975, 50 percent of participants preferred the taste of Pepsi over Coca-Cola. Soda experts say that Pepsi is sweeter, and more lemon-flavored, than its competitors’ cola.
3. In good company
Celebrity endorsers for the brand have included Joan Crawford (who married Pepsi's president, Alfred Steele, in 1955), Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Jeff Gordon, and Sofia Vergara.
4. Looking up
Pepsi-Cola was the first brand to advertise via skywriting, at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
5. Breaking barriers
Pepsi-Cola was the first company to hire black sales executives and market to African-American families.
6. Ici, c'est Pepsi
Pepsi far outsells Coke in French-speaking Canada, to the extent that "Pepsi" has been used as a vaguely pejorative slang term for French-Canadians themselves. (In response to the old Coca-Cola slogan "Around the World, It's Coke," the company once produced ads in Quebec saying "Ici, C'est Pepsi" — "Here, it's Pepsi.")
See what else there is to learn about Pepsi.
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