Caleb Davis Bradham was studying at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, when a family emergency forced him to leave behind his dream of becoming a doctor. Fortunately, while he was pursuing his medical studies, he had worked part time at a pharmacy. When he returned to his home state, North Carolina, he started a drug store in New Bern. To popularise his drug store, he developed a drink, and so began the historic journey of one of the most popular soft drinks in the world: Pepsi.
In 2013, PepsiCo was ranked number 1 on Core Brand’s list of Most Respected Companies. It ranked 41 on the Fortune 500 List.
FACT 1: Brad’s Drink was the original Pepsi. It was concocted by Caleb Bradham in 1893. It was essentially a carbonated water flavoured with cola nuts, rare oils, sugar, caramel and some natural additives. The drink was an instant hit.
FACT 2: On August 28, 1898, Bradham rechristened his drink, naming it ‘Pepsi-Cola’. Contrary to popular belief, the drink does not contain any pepsin. The name Pepsi comes from dyspepsia (indigestion). Bradham did not think of his drink as refreshment. He called it a ‘health drink that aided digestion’
FACT 3: As the drink became more popular, Caleb founded the Pepsi-Cola Company in 1902. Their first advertisement appeared in the New Bern Weekly Journal in 1903. The catch phrase was ‘Exhilarating, Invigorating, Aids Digestion’
FACT 4: In 1906, the Federal Government passed the Pure Food and Drug Act. Barium, uranium, arsenic and lead were banned from food and beverages. Many soft drink manufacturers, including Coca Cola, along with other soft drink manufacturers, had to make adjustments in its formula. The makers of Pepsi-Cola claimed that no changes were necessary in its formula. The new slogan was ‘The Original Pure Food Drink’.
FACT 5: The Pepsi-Cola success story continued its upswing until the exigencies of the First World War brought in sugar rationing. By 1923 sugar prices has spiralled from 3 cents to 28 cents. Forced to buy at this price the company floundered and eventually declared bankruptcy. It was sold for $30,000 to Craven Holding Corporation.
FACT 6: A dynamic advertising campaign has been central to the revival of the Pepsi-Cola Company. Through the years the Pepsi slogans have reflected the changes taking place in society. The 1939 slogan ‘Twice as Much for a Nickel’ appealed to Americans still reeling from the Great Depression. The post war baby boom blossomed into a generation of liberated young people, who made their presence felt. In 1961 the Pepsi slogan was ‘Now Its Pepsi for Those who Think Young’.
FACT 7: In 1959 Nikita Khrushchev was clicked having a discussion with then Vice President Richard Nixon, over a Pepsi. The photograph was captioned ‘Khrushchev Gets Sociable, quipping on the Pepsi slogan ‘Be Sociable’.
FACT 8: Pepsi is credited with being the first company to broadcast a jingle nationwide. The jingle ‘Nickel Nickel’ became a hit record and was translated into 55 languages.
FACT 9: In 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbour drew America into the First World War. Pepsi changed its colours to the present red white and blue to support the American war effort.
FACT 10: Pepsi is sold in 200 countries and territories around the world. Globally, it is the second most popular fizzy drink.