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The History Of 7UP

This is the history of the soft drink 7UP as documented by the manufacturer.

7 UP is a registered trademark of Dr Pepper/Seven UP, Inc.
Copyright 2002, Dr Pepper/Seven UP, Inc
All Rights Reserved

Article by: Barbara Bowman


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The History Of 7up

7 UP — A SODA HISTORY
7 UP has come a long way from "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda." But come on, haven't we all?

1920 — Howdy, soda
The Seven-Up Company's roots go back to 1920, when C. L. Grigg banked on his 30 years of experience in advertising and merchandising to form The Howdy Corporation in St. Louis, Mo. Although he named the company after the Howdy Orange drink he pioneered, his goal was to create a wholesome and distinctive soft drink that would prove irresistible to the nation's consumers. He spent more than two years testing 11 different formulas of lemon-flavored drinks, finally settling on one that best met his two goals: refreshing and thirst-quenching.

1929 — a great taste is born
Grigg introduced his new soft drink two weeks before the stock market crashed in October 1929. It was a caramel-colored, lithiated lemon-lime soda, which he positioned as a drink with a "flavor wallop" to market alongside the already-successful Howdy Orange drink. It cost more than its competition and had an unwieldy name, "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda." At the time, more than 600 lemon-lime soft drinks were already in the marketplace. In spite of the obstacles, the new brand sold well. Shortly afterwards, Grigg changed the brand's name to 7 UP. (Yeah, but why?)

1936 — 7 UP meet success, success meet 7 UP
Acknowledging the success of the 7 UP trademark in 1936, Grigg changed the name of The Howdy Corporation to The Seven-Up Company. The earliest 7 UP advertising featured a winged 7 UP logo and described the soft drink as "a glorified drink in bottles only. Seven natural flavors blended into a savory, flavory drink with a real wallop." By the late 1940s, 7 UP had become the third best-selling soft drink in the world.

1967 — UNCOLA: undeniably catchy
In 1967, The Seven-Up Company introduced the UNCOLA advertising campaign, which sent 7 UP sales rocketing nationwide. Consumers endorsed 7 UP as a viable, thirst-quenching alternative to colas. The UNCOLA tag immediately joined the nation's vernacular and remained synonymous with 7 UP, despite subsequent campaigns that featured new slogans.

1970 - Diet's in, sugar's out
In 1970, The Seven-Up Company introduced sugar-free 7 UP, which was an immediate success among the growing number of calorie-conscious Americans. It was named Diet 7 UP in 1979.

1978 — some new guys running 7 UP
In June 1978, Philip Morris acquired The Seven-Up Company.

1982 — no caffeine, remember?
The 7 UP "No Caffeine" campaign garnered national attention for the company, as it appealed to growing consumer concern and confusion about caffeine in soft drinks. The campaign launched 7 UP sales into an unprecedented period of growth and forced the soft drink industry to address the caffeine issue with new products and other competitive countermeasures.

1986 — even newer guys running 7 UP
In 1986, Philip Morris sold the domestic operations of The Seven-Up Company to a private investment group for $240 million and the company was merged with Dr Pepper Company. The new management team consolidated administrative functions of The Seven-Up Company at the Dallas headquarters of Dr Pepper Company. Sales and marketing staffs remained separate and, although The Seven-Up Company moved its headquarters to Dallas in 1987, manufacturing of 7 UP products remained at the company's St. Louis facility.

1987 — mmm, Cherry
The Seven-Up Company introduced Cherry 7 UP and Diet Cherry 7 UP in early 1987. Marketed to young people, the new products were designed as light, refreshing additions to the prestigious family of 7 UP brand products and met with instant success across the country.

1987 — see Spot boost awareness
To further increase awareness levels of 7 UP in the nation's youth market, The Seven-Up Company introduced Spot, a character derived from the red dot in the 7 UP trademark. From his inception, Spot rapidly developed into a popular cartoon character represented on licensed items throughout the nation. The character was featured in 7 UP advertising and packaging until 1995.

1995 — even newer, newer guys running 7 UP
With the March 1995 acquisition of Dr Pepper/Seven-Up Companies, Inc. by Cadbury Schweppes plc, 7 UP became part of Cadbury Beverages North America. Shortly thereafter, the brand underwent a revitalization, reaching out to a younger audience.

1995 — new packaging's a splash
In the fall of 1995, splash package graphics were introduced for all four flavors of the brand to create a contemporary, exciting new look. The Spot character was eliminated with this graphics change. A 20-ounce package featuring a splash design and unique easy-to-grip bottle was introduced to gain market share in a variety of single-serve purchase locations.

1996 — new name, still an UP thing
In July 1996, the company changed its name to Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. That same year, "7 UP. It's An Up Thing" became an instantly accepted tagline for the product as part of a new advertising campaign to relaunch the revitalized brand.

1999 — 7 UP Guy makes double entendre
Actor/comedian Orlando Jones stars in 7 UP's new "Make 7 UP Yours" campaign, launched in late 1999.

2000 — things just keep getting better
In 2000, 7 UP debuted a bolder, cleaner, more contemporary packaging graphics image. Cherry 7 UP, Diet Cherry 7 UP and Diet 7 UP also received flavor enhancements in 2000.

2002 — new 7 UP Guy increases exposure
The new 7 UP Guy, known only as Godfrey, takes over the "Make 7 UP Yours" campaign, continuing to seek out new, innovative ways to increase brand "exposure."

Note: We use the current brand trademark throughout this history to avoid confusion, even though the trademark has changed a number of times though the years.
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