Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The uncola

Photo credit: Tarek Chemaly, 2004 (c) - Portland, Oregon, United States

The above image was taken by yours truly in 2004 in Portland - Oregon. Burried somewhere in the uber-hip Pearl District, my trained and keen eye spotted it on that isolated wall (On the tram stop before 23rd street). My advertising mogul friend who was hosting me certified that it must date back to the 60s when 7up was still using "The uncola" as a selling line. Debates still rage wether a positioning by differentiation is any good or not (Meaning, when your reason d'etre is what you're not rather that what you are), but still - if one pitches "The uncola" v/s "It's cool to be clear" that's being used nowadays by 7up, for me "The uncola" will win easily on any day.
The history of advertising is full of people portraying themselves against their rivals in an effort to get differentiated. If you follow this link, you will find out more about such practises in the cola world itself: http://blogdayafternoon.com/articles/03/03/13/7708883/index.html
Interestingly, after years of claiming "Can't beat the real thing", supposedly because Coca-Cola bets on their taste rather than on some international superstar like rival Pepsi does (But then dumps at the first sign of controversy - Madonna when the "Like a prayer" video came out featuring and black Jesus and Michael Jackson when the child abuse allegations first surfaced), the red giant (With a patented color none the less) eventually started using star-power itself. Irony of the sorts has it that Christina Aguilera is the voice of Pepsi after having done a major Coca-Cola campaign for Latin America, and Arab heart-throb Nancy Ajram is now selling Coke (But has been beaten to the position but the cute polar bears) when it used to advertise Pepsi.
How original.... How "cola".
No wonder 7up used "uncola" then!
As a final note, and for your viewing pleasure, I unearthed this link: http://www.retrojunk.com/details_commercial/1480/

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