The "Pepsi Generation" Oral History and Documentation Collection, 1938-1986
Archives Center, NMAH, SI
Ellsworth, Scott Dr
7.7 cubic feet: 32 boxes
In 1983, as part of the 20th anniversary of the "Pepsi Generation" umbrella advertising campaign, Pepsi-Cola donated to the Archives Center approximately 200 flat advertising and promotional items (see Collection #92). The Archives Center accepted these items and proposed an oral history project to document the story of the "Pepsi Generation."
The Archives Center embarked upon this project in the Spring of 1983. A professional oral historian, Dr. Scott Ellsworth, conducted 29 interviews over one and a half years with 26 people involved in Pepsi advertising, including bottlers, advertising executives, producers, directors, a songwriter, a performer, a publisher, the president of Pepsi, the chairman of the board, and two former Pepsi presidents.
The interviews focus primarily on the "Come Alive, You're In The Pepsi Generation" advertising campaign, Pepsi's adoption of youth-oriented advertising; campaign execution; television commercial production; background of the idea for the "Think Young" campaign and the company's response to the "Pepsi Generation"campaign.
Research files: Materials collected by the Archives Center to provide background for the project team and materials produced by Pepsi-Cola, including an almost complete run of Pepsi-Cola World, the company publication,and various trade literature, both advertising and soft drink industry.
Interviewee files: Abstracts for each interview, indexes to each interview, master index to the collection, brief biographical statements on each interviewee, and additional information, such as resumes, articles, etc.
Oral history interviews: form the bulk of the collection. They contain rich material on the relationship between Pepsi and its ad agency, how television commercials are produced, the early days of television and the bottlers' role in advertising. Approximately 100 television advertisements, 1946-1984, which illustrate many subjects that the interviewees mention in the interviews. These commercials also show developments in television such as changes in editing techniques, greater spontaneity in acting, and the increased use of action scenes. A list of the commercial titles and running times is available.
The series also includes a video program produced as part of a small exhibit composed of 12 ads with voice-overs of seven interviewees; jingles used in a "pitch" for an ad campaign; international Pepsi jingles; and several versions of music for the "Girlwatchers" Diet Pepsi campaign.
The "Pepsi Generation" Oral History and Documentation Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History