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Soda advertisement trends throughout the history

6 2024

Pour yourself a glass (of RC Cola, that is!), grab a seat, and get ready. We're about to take a refreshing sip down Memory Lane to explore the pop culture phenomenon that is soda advertising–through the lens of RC Cola.


For those of us in the beverage industry, particularly bottlers and industry professionals, understanding how global soda marketing has evolved throughout the years unpacks invaluable lessons that continue to inspire and inform the beverage industry of today. Our exploration promises to be a carefully crafted mix of data, storytelling, and actionable insights.


Soda advertisement trends of the past

In the beverage industry, capturing the public's imagination has always been more of a marathon than a sprint. From the very early days when global soda marketing was only taking its first steps, beverage professionals have vied to keep their brands not just in the conversation but leading it. 


The Swinging 60s Soda Marketing: Hollywood Glam and Diet Innovations

In an era fueled by growth and revolution, soda advertisements in the 1960s mirrored the vigor and optimism of the time. This time marked a shift in soda advertisement trends, marrying Hollywood glamor with the golden fizz of soda. A surge in television consumption also meant capturing the American Dream in new forms. Ona of great soda marketing examples is engaging stars like Nancy Sinatra lending her voice to Royal Crown Cola—this wasn't just about selling a drink; back then, it was about selling a lifestyle.


The era also saw the introduction of Diet Rite, the first sugar-free soda, answering the consumer's growing need for alternative, calorie-free options. This shift in consumer preferences marked the beginning of a trend that would continue to shape the beverage industry for decades to come–leading us to creating our most recent version of RC Cola No Sugar.


The Revolutionary 70s Soda Marketing: Catchphrases and Globalization

The 70s marked a daring departure from the elaborate and detailed narratives that had previously dominated advertising, opting instead for catchy slogans that effortlessly stuck in the consumer's mind.


This era was characterized by bold risks and a spirit of experimentation that was evident in everything from the formats of advertisements to the exploration of new and untapped markets, laying the groundwork for what would become a rush towards globalization.


It was during the 70s when soda stopped being only an American pastime and became a global phenomenon, enjoyed by people from all corners of the world and becoming a staple in cultures far and wide. Watch RC Cola's history video below to discover more insights from that time.




The extraordinary journey of the Royal Crown Cola Company


The Electric 80s Soda Marketing: The Jingle Era

Who could forget the 1980s, when catchy jingles dominated and ads became sing-along invitations into the world of soda? These years were full of neon and nostalgia, and consumerism. Soda ads reflected this with an explosion of color, energy, and an unapologetic glam that oozed from the small screen.


This era brought us the caffeine-free RC 100. Who can still recall the words of the popular ad, "RC 100 got nothing, it's nothing like I've ever seen..." The new drink - with no sugar and no caffeine - meant broadening the market to those seeking a buzz-free pop. It was clear: to stay afloat in the soda business, innovation had to be continuous.


The Emotional 90s Soda Marketing: Narrative-Driven Campaigns

If the '80s were the prelude to brand storytelling, the '90s was the epic tale. The campaigns from the 90s were designed to tug at the heartstrings and convey a message that resonated on a personal level.


It was also the decade that seriously began addressing the shift in consumer expectations towards alternative options when it came to sugar contents and exotic flavors, as well as the burgeoning interest in craft and specialty beverages, illustrated by Royal Crown Draft.


This was also the age of the megastar brand partnerships; for a soda brand, there was no better spotlight than alongside the brightest supermodels, sports stars, and music icons of the day. It was a time of experimentation that laid the groundwork for the digital revolutions that would define the new millennium.


A Modern Sip: What Bottlers Can Learn From the Past

The evolution of soda advertisements mirrors that of a constantly changing and diversifying market, always adapting to new trends, technologies, and consumer behaviors. For today's bottlers, the lessons from advertising history are profound and remain as pertinent as the bubbles in a freshly popped can of RC Cola.


Authenticity Remains the Crown Jewel

Throughout every iconic campaign, the consistent thread was authenticity. The best soda ads were those that resonated genuinely with consumers, tapping into their passions, struggles, and triumphs. Today's beverage brands must continue to weave this genuine connection into their advertising strategies, enmeshing their products into the fabric of consumer experiences in a way that is both real and relatable.


Be Future-Focused, Not Nostalgia-Obsessed

While nostalgia can be a powerful tonic, it's vital that brand messages remain future-focused, especially in an industry as dynamic as the beverage market. We must honor and build upon the heritage of our brands, but always with an eye toward innovation and the changing tides of what it means to quench consumer thirsts. As a brand with 119 years of history, RC Cola knows this better than anyone else.


The Power of Storytelling, Mixed with a Dash of Data

The most enduring soda advertisements have told stories that resonate and linger in the consumer's mind. A standout example is RC Cola Philippines, which has taken storytelling to new heights with campaigns that resonate deeply with local culture and humor, underscoring the importance of local relevance and personal connection.



RC Cola Philippines' viral video ad


This storytelling craft, when combined with data-driven insights into consumer choices and preferences, can create a blend that's as potent as it is pleasing. Analyzing trends, anticipating shifts, and crafting narratives that predict and respond to these movements can ensure that your product stays ahead of the curve.


A Toast to Today: Storytelling, Authenticity, and Personalization

For those navigating the currents of today's beverage market, it's crucial to remember the importance of the following strategies in crafting a successful beverage marketing strategy:

  • Engaging with your audience through social media marketing for beverages: Building a robust online presence through interactive and meaningful engagements on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can significantly enhance brand visibility and loyalty.
  • Leveraging content marketing for bottlers: Creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience ultimately drives profitable customer action. This involves blog posts, videos, podcasts, and other media meant to attract and engage consumers.
  • Tapping into influencer marketing: Collaborating with influencers who have significant followings on social media platforms can amplify your brand's message to a larger and more engaged audience. Influencers can sway their followers' perceptions and encourage them to try your products.
  • Utilizing user-generated content: Encouraging your customers to share their own content related to your brand can boost authenticity and trustworthiness. This includes reviews, testimonials, photos, and videos shared by users, which can positively influence potential customers.

These modern-day tactics are the equivalents of the bold moves made in past decades and are integral components of a successful beverage marketing strategy. Each method offers a unique way to connect with and grow your audience.


Looking Forward, Sipping from the Past

As we set our sights on the future of soda advertising, it's clear that our bubbly history is not just a vault of memories but a treasure trove of inspiration. The past teaches us the value of innovation, the power of emotional connection, and the importance of adapting to consumer trends.


For those of us vested in the future of our brands, it's time to bottle up that inspiration and craft marketing strategies that resonate, engage, and, most importantly, refresh.


The path forward is carbonated with opportunities. By drawing on our rich history and focusing on genuine connections and innovative engagement, we can ensure our brands don't just survive but thrive in the dynamic beverage landscape of tomorrow.


Want to become a bottler? Talk to us today!