Wednesday, September 14, 2016

76.THE 7 UP UNCOLA CAMPAIGN: Making a Non-Cola Drink Cool Again

7 UP was introduced in the mid 50s in the Philippine by Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Philippines.  The name, they say, was derived from its “7 natural flavors blended into a savory, flavory drink with a real wallop.”  Predictably, 7 UP was advertised as a pick-upper, with crisp lemon-lime flavor that refreshes and lifts spirits up.

It targetted the active family and came up with the  1952 slogan “The Fresh Up Family Drink”,  to replace the earlier “You Like It, It Likes You”.  Later variations were also used like “Fresh Up with 7 UP”,”Nothing Does it Like 7 UP”. Advertising for 7 UP began in the Philippines in 1955, with print ads that simply copied the original U.S. version.

7 UP was drank by older people because they believe it was less gassy than cola drinks, and therefore less stomach-upsetting. This ‘medicinal’ image was considered uncool by the younger set. Not even the teen campaign the product launched in the sixties—and which was adapted in the Philippines-- could make its image more contemporary.

Then in 1967, its advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson conceived of a campaign that celebrated the uniqueness of 7 UP against cola-based drinks. 

The UNCOLA Campaign sought to promote the idea of the fact that the product is not made from cola nuts, a differentiating angle that resonated with young people at the threshold of the so-called  “Me decade”,  which described a new attitude of Americans towards individualism.

The UNCOLA Campaign was rolled out in 1968 and ran through the 70s in the U.S. with many memorable ads for TV and print. The campaign doubled sales for the product and by 1972, 7 UP ranked as the third largest soda marketer behind Coke and Pepsi.

THE UNCOLA, drawn in psychedelic style, 1970
 The UNCOLA Campaign was adapted in many countries, including the Philippines. The local print ads which first came out in 1970 were similar to those produced in the U.S. which started running them a year earlier.
UNCOLA Print Series, 1970
The eye-popping executions capitalized on the psychedelia craze, with fantastic, graphic illustrations rendered in bright, vibrant colors-- an artistic style popularized by the artist Peter Max.
There were pop art poster giveaways, UNCOLA upside down glasses,  and psychedelic dance parties that magnified the campaign in the stores and on-ground.

Suddenly, 7 UP was  a hip, with-it brand again. The UNCOLA TV commercials aired here included two versions, one of which became a global hit, and made a star out of its presenter. The  JWT-produced  TV commercial--which was aired on Philippine TV in 1972-- starred  actor, director and choreographer Geoffrey Holder as a Caribbean planter explaining the difference between cola nuts and 7 UP's "uncola nuts," lemon and lime.


Holder’s performance was so well-remembered that he was signed on to do more versions of the same campaign.

Another UNCOLA Ad was a product-the-hero ad scored with a jingle noted for its sheer lyrical strength. The jingle wasn’t  just selling fizzy beverages twelve ounces at a time, it was singing praises to a way of life that challenged all conventions.

The 7 UP UNCOLA Campaign had a good run, but the succeeding initiatives—including its Fido Dido “Cool to be Clear” ad, did not do much to stop the increase of the share of its primary competitor—Sprite—throughout the ‘90s. By 1998, the 7 UP bottle underwent a design  face-lift, which dropped the term "Uncola" from the soda's packaging.  And there goes a piece of advertising history.

From Uncool to Uncola: The Fabulous Psychedelic 7 UP Ads 1969-1973.

The Uncola's Unclever Ad Campaign:

Uncola: The Video History of a 7 UP Breakthrough Ad

youtube, 7UP "THE UNCOLA", uploaded by videoblast, 26 November 2008.

1 comment:

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