In 1963, Pepsi-Cola kicked off a TV, radio, print and billboard campaign that made advertising history. Pepsi showed young people motorcycling, skiing, surfboarding and flirting. The product itself was barely described except as the choice of “livelier, active people,” with “the young view of things.” The campaign’s tagline: “Come alive! You’re in the Pepsi generation!”
The campaign didn’t just speak to a generation — it defined the generation. It was a rebuff of the past and a shared project of youthful freedom and fun. The “Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns” puts it this way: “In a stunning reversal of conventional advertising wisdom, Pepsi made the consumer – not the product – the hero of its ads and, in the process, sold viewers this portrait of themselves.”
It came at the right time just as the first baby boomers were entering their teenage years. Twenty years later, the boomers would comprise history’s largest middle class, and Pepsi would be marketing to their kids.