11.03.2012

Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Dead

Come alive! You're in the Pepsi generation! Pepsi Ad from 1964
I like Pepsi; I always have. However, we were not Pepsi drinkers as a child.

My parents, the very models of thrift at that time, bought cases of Chek Cola, a Winn-Dixie house brand that came in a wide array of flavors, and required a can opener to be enjoyed. As an added bonus, the interior bottom of the can had some sort of fortune or saying printed there, so it was always fun to try to read the message of wisdom the can was bringing to you from the beyond, wherever that may be. Chek Cola, thankfully, never brought any of my ancestors back from the dead.

It was in 1963 that Pepsi came out with this particular advertising campaign that read, 

"Come alive! You're in the Pepsi generation!"

Not like most ads of that time, these ads were alive with movement and people having a good time. Happy people; beautiful people. You wanted to be one of those people. Unless you lived in China.

According to advertising legend, such as that may be, the whole "Come Alive" Pepsi campaign suffered from some mistranslation when it was marketed in China, causing a dramatic drop in Pepsi consumption across the Asian continent. It would appear that the slogan was misinterpreted to say "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead," which would surely be enough to keep me from drinking it. Snopes points out that while this legend is undetermined in reliability, they do say that Pepsi has never actually confirmed or denied the rumor. And why should they? Legends are like the viral videos of previous generations, all of which amounts to free advertising, so they might as well enjoy the ride. 

According to Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine, as of 2009, Coke products had 52% of the carbonated beverage market in China as compared to Pepsi's 32%, although Pepsi was the top selling cola, #2 behind Sprite, with Coke being #3. So it would appear that the Chinese have gotten over any apprehensions they may have had about drinking Pepsi.

I wonder how they feel about Peter Frampton?

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