7UP Tried To Call Itself 'The Uncola' To Beat Coke

Today we may think of 7UP as Pepsi's lemon lime soda answer to Coca Cola's Sprite, but 7UP has actually been around for far longer. Invented just prior to the stock market crash and the Great Depression in October of 1929, 7UP preceded Sprite by more than 30 years. And when it was first introduced, it had to find a way to stand out in a market saturated with hundreds of lemon lime-flavored competitors — no easy feat, especially when you're named Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime soda, 7UP's original lengthy moniker.

More recently, there were the turbulent years of the "Cola Wars" of the '80s and '90s, which pitted Pepsi and Coke in a heated rivalry as they vied for soft drink supremacy. It led to blind tastes tests, celebrity endorsements, and the quest for developing new products like Diet Coke. Of course, in the Coke versus Pepsi or Sprite versus 7UP debates, corporate marketing campaigns attempt to persuade consumers that their version of a similar product is of superior quality. In the case of 7UP, execs once dubbed the soda "the uncola" to try and separate the drink from Coke in the public's mind.

Different is good

The "uncola" promotional blitz made a point to emphasize what set 7UP apart from Coke. One TV ad demonstrates the contrast between cola nuts and so-called uncola nuts in a tongue-in-cheek manner, depicting the campaign's spokesperson Geoffrey Holder comparing the two and touting the juiciness and "crisp, clean aftertaste" as what distinguishes 7UP from Coke.

Flashbak describes the slogan as part of an attempt to be more hip and attract the younger generation, since the product had already been around for a while at this point and was perceived as a beverage for older people. Since the uncola tagline launched in 1969 and lasted through 1973, many of its advertisements reflected the counterculture aesthetic of the day, presenting vibrant psychedelic images that seemed to celebrate nonconformity while simultaneously encouraging conformity to the 7UP brand, such as "don't be the last to uncola" or the trippy and vividly colorful "hear no cola, see no cola, drink uncola." Taking the approach that different is good proved successful, and 7UP sales increased as a result of the uncola marketing strategy. 

When the public starts to lose interest in your soda, sometimes you have to freshen things up, such as by making 7UP cans' new look. After all, nobody likes a flat, stale soft drink, whether it's cola or uncola.