There are few examples in advertising or pop-culture which are the idealization of American youth, affluence and style, better than the Pepsi print campaigns of the 1950′s.
These magazine illustrations clearly marked out a sophisticated lifestyle and the beautiful stylish people that practiced it. The artistic style was colorful and simple with a few important details to tell the story. The setting was clearly urban, or nearby suburban, with a lot of beach and country outings mixed in. Locations might be the polo stables, a fashion show or a backyard cookout; but everyone was having fun and drinking Pepsi.
Pictured are mainstream consumers; adults not teenagers. The illustrations can be seen as almost an instruction, a ‘how-to’ of consumerism. Woman’s fashions are not just front and center but seem to be the theme of many of these Pepsi ads. Fashion is shown through-out, not just as dress, but as home furnishings and in the air of casual elegance to the festive frivolities.
It is interesting to note, that except for a few examples, the identity of the artists who created this world of soft-drink utopia are forgotten. I confess envy of the fashionable fun and beautiful people which live in Pepsi- Land. Perhaps I am really the main character of a long-lost Twilight Zone episode. In the final frames accompanied with Rod Serling epilogue, I will be:
“… glimpsed- catching a beachball- on that perfect- never ending- fizzy drink day.”