TelevisionWeek Executive Editor Tom Gilbert joins our roster of bloggers with this forum all about classic television, where anything from "Leave It to Beaver" to "Malcolm in the Middle" is fair game for discussion. Reunion specials, DVD releases of classic shows, vintage commercials -- anything that's ever been telecast is the hot topic here.


Timeless TV

Have a Pepsi Day

April 10, 2007 1:49 PM

Some of the greatest TV of all time is neither sitcom nor drama; rather it is the lowly TV commercial. Among the best of the best are the Pepsi-Cola spots of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Pepsi pioneered the youth-oriented, active outdoor lifestyle spots with the “Come Alive” campaign of the mid-’60s. The spots were dynamic and gave the product a high-octane, happening connotation among the younger demo that, remarkably, the brand has managed to maintain over the ensuing decades. (This particular example is a longer-than-normal commercial that combines several spots in the campaign; it must have been edited for exhibition in movie theaters or something).

But those spots, as much fun as they were, were very white-bread and not exactly reflective of what was America’s ever-increasing diversity even then. After a few years and the interim “Taste That Beats the Others Cold!” campaign came Pepsi’s zenith: the “You’ve Got a Lot to Live” spots that ran from 1969-72. Not only were they exciting to watch, they redefined the way Americans saw themselves. Simply put, they were inclusive and infectious. And no amount of puppies, kids and grandmothers could over-sweeten their appeal.

Here's one of the first, and the best:

The campaign was tweaked from 1973-75 to become “Join the Pepsi People, Feelin’ Free,” which combined the spirit of the original campaign and a cranked-up gospel feel. Those spots worked almost as well:

Following those were the “Have a Pepsi Day” spots, which ran from 1975-77 and still managed to keep the spirit of the original campaign alive. Ironically it was the next alteration, “Catch That Pepsi Spirit,” that didn’t. It was merely running on fumes. The spell was broken.


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Comments (7)

L. Fitzgerald:

Please! I'm looking for information on a vintage Pepsi commercial that ran approx the 70's. It was a young boy with a cowboy hat who was sent to the barn. And when he opened the double bar doors there was a gorgeous Paint horse waiting for him. Subsequent frames show him riding the running horse through the fields with the jingle "come on, come on, come on and have a Pepsi day" I believe.

ANY help would be much appreciated!!

Tom Gilbert:

Here's the commericial you were looking for; it's called "Pony."


I'm looking for an old pepsi comm. if my memory serves me right. It had to do with a saturday afternoon, lots of 70,s things going on, What i am looking to see is the ending, it was a high school, or church car wash, and the young girl in it was a very close frend of mine. If anyone has seen it or has i would love to take a trip down "memory lane". Thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer. Dave

J. Carroll:

I'm looking for a 1970's Pepsi commercial that featured a young boy and a litter of playful Golden Retriever puppies.
Any help?

Tom Gilbert:

I have a copy on VHS. I think it's called "Small Town USA."

Howard Stevenson:

I was involved in a Pepsi commercial, I believe in 1978. It was about a young lady bull rider and rodeo clowns. I would like to see a video of the commercial or where to find it.. HS


This shows the names of the Pepsi commercials. maybe you can find it throught the correct name. Good luck, HS

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