Gotta Have It! Pepsi in the 90's

A look at one of the biggest soft drinks time throughout the 1990's
February 09, 2017
Regardless of how healthy you consider yourself to be, everyone has had an ice cold soda in their life. I shouldn't have to tell you that Pepsi and Coke are the two biggest competing soft drinks in the world. I also hate to brake it to you, but Pepsi and Coke largely taste the same. The true winner is the one that can hook someone to choose their soda over the other through clever use of colors, images, advertisements, and promotions. As a child of the 90's, Pepsi's imagery has stuck with me for all these years, and I still drink it today. Let's take a look at some of Pepsi's history in the 1990's

Pepsi first made their mark on the 90's in the year 1991 when they changed their logo for the first time since 1987. It took the word 'PEPSI' out of the iconic globe and had them both be separated, and while still using the red, blue, and white colors their shades were darkened. This would be their logo for the majority of the early 90's.

Without the widespread use of the internet in 1991, advertisements were the key way to show new product designs. Pepsi was quick to show off its new look with an iconic commercial featuring the model Cindy Crawford. While I don't agree with the tactic, sex sells, and the attractive Cindy Crawford made many boys (and men with the mind of boys) want to buy an ice cold Pepsi. This commercial was shown during the 1991 Super Bowl, which further increased how many people would see it.

Pop culture can be just as lucrative as advertisements. Pepsi had iconic scenes in the early 90's classics Home Alone (1990) and Wayne's World (1992). I wasn't alive in 1992, but watching Wayne's World just a few years later as a kid, I always cracked up at the scene making fun of product placement which featured a can of Pepsi. Still using that logo at the time, my kid brain could associate it with the movie making me pester my mom at the grocery store until she caved and got a 12 pack. The tactic of using product placement to try and get kids to use products the reconzie from their favorite movies is still used today. However, speaking of 1992...

Yes, Crystal Pepsi. The legendary Crystal Pepsi was only available from 1992 to 1993. It was the same Pepsi taste you knew and loved, but without the dyes added resulting in a clear soda. Sodas like Sprite wear clear, but typically a clear soda always had a citrus or lemon lime flavor. Clear cola? Now that's crazy. As aesthetic as Crystal Pepsi was, it sold poorly. This was mostly because despite the strong marketing and interesting look, it didn't taste any different than regular Pepsi. If you were drinking it from a can rather than a see through bottle not only would you not see that's it clear, but it wouldn't taste any different. Of course Crystal Pepsi came back, and it sees regular on off distribution, most recently in 2017.

For the next few years, Pepsi had many other advertisement campaigns, flavor variants, and movie appearances in the 90's. Like I said, I was born in 1994 and my best childhood memories are rooted in the late 90's, otherwise known as the best 90's. Let's jump ahead to 1997 when we were treated to another logo change.

Pepsi's new logo was representative of the changing times. While the early 90's still clung to elements of late 80's aesthetics, by the late 90's a cultural idea that world was now entering the 'modern' era took place with the coming of the 21st century. As such Pepsi created a 'modern' logo. The genious use of shading and lines on the globe gave it the impression of being three dimensional. This is also when Pepsi started making their cans blue, steering away from the traditional white. Pepsi also incorporated an abstract blue design in the background of the cans with various lines and shapes creating a very late 90's looking pattern, this pattern was constantly being changed and redesigned intentionally. Pepsi used this design into the early 2000's.

Pepsi was a marketing machine in the late 90's which is why I rember so much of it. NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon had a huge sponsership with Pepsi, and even drove a Pepsi race car on a few occasions. Pepsi had Star Wars Episode One limited edition cans in 1999, and Jeff Gordon cans. They had print ads in practically every publication, product placement in movies, man Pepsi was everywhere. The dark Pepsi blue of the late 90's caught my eye strongly as a kid, I pretty much only drank Pepsi and no other soda. It's the one product I remember from the 90's the most. Aesthetics are important and Pepsi had nailed it.

Where did Pepsi go from the 90's? Well their new minimalist logo isn't the same, but the rerelease Crystal Pepsi often and even brought back the 1997 Diet Pepsi can design. Pepsi was such a favorite drink of my childhood, and as a kid I may not have been able to appreciate the aesthetic and marketing of Pepsi in the 90's, but now as a 90's obsessed adult I can truly see how great it really was.
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