Pepsi is a soft drink company that has been around for over a century. The company has seen everything ranging from being threatened with bankruptcy to being sued for failing to deliver a promised jet and rising to one of the most popular soft drink brands. At one point, a man claimed to have found a mouse in his Mountain Dew can. Pepsi responded to this allegation by proving the drink could dissolve the rodent in a few months. Here are more Pepsi facts that will hit the spot.
1. The Rivalry between Pepsi and Coca-Cola Is Called “Cola Wars”
The cola flavor is among the many aspects that Pepsi and Coca-Cola share. In fact, Pepsi was once officially referred to as Pepsi-Cola. As a result, the two heavyweight companies have had a long-standing rivalry known as “cola wars.”
2. The “Pepsi Challenge” Is Among the Strategies Used By Pepsi for the Cola Wars
The “Pepsi Challenge” is among the most notable marketing campaigns highlighted in the “Cola Wars.” In the 1970s, Pepsi challenged consumers with blind taste tests requiring them to choose between Pepsi and Coca-Cola. The results show that people preferred Pepsi products, resulting in climbing sales.
3. Pepsi Targeted the African American Market at the Height of Racial Segregation
At a time when racial segregation was at its peak, Pepsi saw the African American community as an untapped niche market, so it focused there. The company’s commercials portrayed them positively despite the threats from the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). In return, Pepsi sales skyrocketed, especially within the African American communities. Studies showed they were 3 times likelier to purchase a Pepsi than Coca-Cola.
4. Pepsi Reported People Who Tried to Sell Them Coca-Cola Secrets
Despite their rivalry, Pepsi refused to buy Coca-Cola secrets sold to them. Instead, the company reported the sellers to the FBI and notified Coca-Cola. While this may look like a “fair-play” act to the general public, experts say Pepsi declined the offer to protect itself from lawsuits, bad public relations, and there was nothing much they could have done with the Coca-Cola formula anyway.
5. A Pepsi Contest in the Philippines Resulted in Public Outrage and Death Threats
In 1993, Pepsi ran a contest in the Philippines where consumers were required to look under the caps. Prize money of about $40,000 was promised to whoever got the lucky number 349. The campaign went sideways when over 800,000 winning caps were printed, resulting in many Filipinos believing they were in money. Of course, Pepsi couldn’t hand winnings to all the winners, resulting in public outrage, and the company’s executives were threatened with death.
6. Pepsi Was Originally Called “Brad’s Drink”
Today’s Pepsi soft drink was invented in 1893 by Caleb Bradham, a renowned pharmacist and businessperson. However, it was first known as “Brad’s Drink, probably from the owner’s name, Bradham. It was renamed Pepsi-Cola in 1898, with the moniker “Pepsi” referencing the drink’s ability to relieve dyspepsia, at least as it was marketed.
7. Michael Jackson Didn’t Sue Pepsi for the Commercial that Resulted in Scalp Burns
Many people know Michael Jackson’s scalp was accidentally burned during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. However, not everyone knows that rather than sue for damages, the pop icon requested that Pepsi set up a burn center to help subsequent victims recover. The two went on to do other commercials in the late 1980s.
8. A Man Sued Pepsi for Failing to Deliver a Jet They Promised
In the mid-1990s, a middle-aged man sued Pepsi for failing to deliver a fighter jet they said they would. The soft drink company had promised jokingly through an advertisement that it would give a fighter jet to anyone with 7 million Pepsi points. A student borrowed $700,000, bought the points, made his claim, and waited for delivery. Pepsi didn’t send anything, saying it was a joke. This resulted in a lawsuit that the company won.
9. There Is an Official Pepsi Mascot Known as “Pepsiman”
In the 1990s, Pepsi developed an official mascot, Pepsiman, for the Japanese market. A dozen commercials featuring the character were shot. The mascot wore different outfits depending on the latest styles and trends. Pepsiman attracted a cult-like following.
10. There Is a Pepsiman Videogame
Because of Pepsiman’s success, KID, a Japanese bishojo games developing company, developed the Pepsimum video game compatible with PlayStation Consoles. First released in 1999, the game often showed a man drinking Pepsi, another genius marketing campaign by the company.
11. An American Racing Driver Was the First Celebrity to Endorse Pepsi
Over time, Pepsi has attracted huge celebrity endorsements, including the 8-time Ballon d’Or winner and soccer sensation Lionel Messi. However, Barney Oldfield, a pioneer American racing driver, was the first public figure to vouch for the soft drink, describing it as “a refreshing, invigorating, bully drink.
12. Pepsi Once Entered Bankruptcy
Thanks to financial losses recorded because of the fluctuating sugar prices during World War I, Pepsi recorded bankruptcy in 1923 and several subsequent years. The company sold its assets, including its Pepsi trademark, which was bought by Roy C. Megargel.
13. Coca-Cola Refused to Buy Pepsi Three Times
As Pepsi struggled with bankruptcy, Coca-Cola was offered the opportunity to purchase the company thrice between 1922 and 1933, but it declined.
14. Pepsi Regained Popularity during the Great Depression
Following a rough patch that threatened its existence, Pepsi started regaining popularity in 1934, a period widely referred to as the Great Depression. One major factor that contributed to this significant resurgence was the company’s decision to introduce 12-ounce (355 mL) bottles. Before that, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi only sold their products in 6.5-ounce (192 mL) bottles. A radio marketing campaign featuring the famous jingle “Nickel, Nickel” sealed Pepsi’s comeback.
15. Pepsi Has Graced Various Blockbuster Movies Over Time
As with other soft drink brands, Pepsi centers its marketing strategies on appearing in major films, sports, and events. It has been featured in various blockbuster movies, including Back to the Future Part II, World War Z, and Home Alone.
16. There Were Only 6,500 Bottles of Pepsi Perfect Fictional Drink
The Pepsi advert in the award-winning film “Back to the Future Part II” featured a fictional drink called Pepsi Perfect. Its success prompted the company to later create and release a limited edition of the drink, with only 6,500 bottles available and selling at $20.15. After that, those who were “lucky” found some of the items for hundreds of dollars on eBay.
17. Pepsi Has Many Flavors
Pepsi has established itself as a brave company that tries flavors that are not only new but have also never been heard of before. Some Pepsi flavors you probably didn’t know existed include vanilla, crystal, blue Hawaii, ice cream, natural, lime, Christmas, red, and throwback. Over 60 varieties are available.
18. It Is the Second Most Popular Soft Drink
At the time of writing, Pepsi is the second most popular soft drink, only behind Coca-Cola. The Cola Wars continue decades after it started.