Sorry, Pepsi. I betrayed you. Twice.
The first time happened so long ago, you probably don’t remember. I mean, who can be held accountable for what they did in the ‘70s? Not quite the ‘60s, but still...
This moment of cleansing feels good. It needed to happen. You see, I have always had a clear preference for Pepsi. Not sure why, but the beverage always satisfied me. That was even confirmed by a couple of official Coke vs. Pepsi taste tests and multiple replications at parties. (Okay, full disclosure: my ‘70s weren’t so wild.)
It was Pepsi every time.
And yet I strayed. For a couple of years (yes, the affair dragged on), I was drawn to something purportedly peppier. At some point, we all dream of being with a doctor. I fell for Dr. Pepper.
I should have known better. In truth, the cola always tasted like they’d accidentally poured in a resistant child’s cherry-flavored cough syrup. Perhaps Dr. Pepper was that devious. But really, my soda tryst had nothing to do with the can’s contents. I was taken by the pitch person: David Naughton. Sigh. Such an adorable singer/dancer! Take a look at this commercial: dear Davy doesn’t appear until twenty-two seconds in (such a waste!), but it’s got Jimmie “ J.J.” Walker and roller skates thrown in to encapsulate a perfect ‘70s moment.
Not gay enough you say? Well, I had no gaydar back then. I’d like to think a struggling Hugh Jackman might have been the Dr. Pepper guy had he been born a generation earlier. And David Naughton did have a catchy disco credit as well. (If you've still got that Pepper jingle jangling in your head, watch this ad which includes a toast to San Fran.)
I totally ended my relationship with Dr. Pepper right about the time the spokesperson became a werewolf. Luckily, Pepsi took me back. (Corporate entities have a different morality, you know.) I remained loyal until 1994 when I suffered another period of indiscretion.
I wanted to get Lucky. Didn’t we all? Like everyone else, I adored the iconic commercial spokesperson of the ‘80s, but I didn’t feel any bubbly excitement. (Thank goodness.) At long last, Lucky Vanous came along. Suddenly, 11:30 became my favorite time of day. I remember well this pre-Internet time. I lived with two gay roommates in L.A., although the duplex unit often housed boyfriends and between-apartment gay friends. The television always seemed to be on. Whenever someone yelled, “Diet Coke”, we’d scramble down the stairs, all of us soda-sanctioned Peeping Toms. No need to venture to West Hollywood to ogle a coke-fueled go-go boy. The Diet Coke Guy did it.
Sadly, even the best campaigns must end.
I did return once again to Pepsi, but things were never the same between us. My allegiance has waned, but not on account of a hunky pitch person. Polar bears are cute but I don’t need to dash to the TV or play YouTube clips on repeat to remember a manipulated “Ahh” moment. Instead, I have been sucked in by the Starbucks routine.