Saturday, August 6, 2016

12 once Pepsi-Cola Bottles

14 x 11'', acrylic on gessoed hardboard mounted (4 cm deep)
painting #240, 2016

Pepsi-Cola was introduced in 1893 as ''Brad's Drink'' named after it's inventor Caleb Bradham, in New Bern, North Carolina.  Very much like Coca-Cola which preceded Pepsi by 7 years, it was conceived by a pharmacist as a energy drink and a digestive aid. From it's ingredients pepsin and the kola nut, it was later rename Pepsi-Cola in 1898.

The rivalry between Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola has probably existed from the time they started to mass produce the carbonated sodas. In 1936, Pepsi-Cola introduced the 12 once bottle and sold the soft drink for a nickel, the same price as the 6.5 once bottle of Coca-Cola. During this period, it would double its sales. The Pepsi Challenge was introduced in 1975. A blind taste test where people off the street were invited to drink samples of Pepsi and Coke in unmarked cups. This marketing coup targeted people who had never tried Pepsi before. Pepsi also went all out with commercial adds targeting the ''New Generation'' teaming up with mega star singers like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Britney Spears, Pink, Beyoncé and many more. 

Putting taste aside, the two colas have taken different routes in marketing their soft drinks from a visual aspect. Coca-Cola has stood by their iconic contour bottle and font for the past century, while Pepsi keeps re-inventing itself with the changing time.

The same can't be said about tie-in products produced by the two rivals during this same period. Demand for Coca-Cola collectables is in a different league and are still very sought after. 

Based on a Best Global brand rankings in 2014 by Interbrand, Coca-Cola was the world's 3rd most valuable brand, behind Apple and Google. Pepsi is ranked a respectable 24th. Coca-Cola outsells Pepsi in most markets for the exception of countries like India, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Eastern Canada (minus New Brunswick) and in Appalachia, North Dakota, Utah and the city of Buffalo in the USA. 

During the fall of 2012, I found these two bottles on a Kijiji listing from a vendor living in Fredericton, NB. The carton which was not in the best condition, was acquired from a US vendor on eBay during the following months. I was able to make it look better in the painting. While they are not dated, according to the above graphic, they carton is probably dated from the 1950's. During my youth, I can clearly remember these bottles being in use during the 1960's. The graphics used here was conceive during the same period when Pop Art was emerging, using primary colours in a most brilliant way. 

Personally, I do not favour one cola over the other. They each have their own unique taste and I enjoy both in moderation. Imagery like this become a unique vehicle for documenting popular culture by bridging the gap of past and present. 

The above photo was taken during the 1950's in Cap-Lumière, NB. 
My late father Raymond stands in front of a small convenience store.  

To acquire about this painting which will become 
available on August 12, 2016, please contact: 
Fog Forest Gallery
14 Bridge Street, Sackville, NB
(506) 536-9000