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.