Here are some fun facts about the choice of a new generation.
- In late 19th century, pharmacies usually had a soda counter to dispense ice cream, floats, and brand new “fizzy” beverages. In 1893, North Carolina pharmacist Caleb Bradham concocted one out of pepsin and kola nut. Claiming it could aid digestion and provide an energy boost, he called it “Brad’s Drink.” In 1898, he renamed it Pepsi (after the pepsin), and was mass producing it by 1903.
- In 1909, racing star Barney Oldfield became the first celebrity to endorse Pepsi. His advertisements featured him proclaiming that the soda was “a bully drink…refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before a race!”
- Pepsi might have gone bust during the Great Depression if it weren’t for candy store tycoon Charles Guth. After becoming frustrated over the prices Coca Cola was charging him to serve their products at the soda counters in his shops, he bought Pepsi and started selling their beverages instead. The secret to Pepsi’s early success? In 1936, during the height of the Depression, they debuted a 12-ounce bottle that sold for five cents. A five-cent bottle of Coke, however, contained just 6.5 ounces.
- Actress Joan Crawford married Pepsi president Alfred N. Steele in 1955 and became a spokeswoman for the company. She appeared in tons of ads, TV specials, and even a few Pepsi-themed beauty pageants. When her husband died in 1959, Crawford joined the company’s Board of Directors.
- The company’s decision to hire Madonna for a late ‘80s ad campaign was disastrous. The $5 million ordeal, which featured her new song “Like a Prayer” in a two minute commercial, debuted during The Cosby Show on March 2nd, 1989. The ad itself was pretty tame, but the video for the song, which featured burning crosses and the singer kissing a saint, was incredibly controversial. It debuted on MTV the following day and Pepsi quickly cancelled their contract with Madonna. She reportedly got to keep her $5 million paycheck, though.