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The History Of 7UP

7UP

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.

Grigg spent more than two years testing 11 different formulas of lemon-flavored drinks. He settled on one that fulfilled the characteristics he sought: refreshing and thirst-quenching. 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. It also carried the burden of an unwieldy name, “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda,” and it competed against more than 600 lemon-lime soft drinks already in the marketplace. In spite of all the obstacles, the new brand sold well. Shortly afterwards, Grigg changed the brand’s name to 7UP.

7UP winged logoThe earliest 7UP advertising featured a winged 7UP 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.” Acknowledging the success of the 7UP trademark in 1936, Grigg changed the name of The Howdy Corporation to The Seven-Up Company. By the late 1940s, 7UP had become the third best-selling soft drink in the world.

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

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

In June 1978, Philip Morris acquired The Seven Up Company. The 7UP “No Caffeine” campaign garnered national attention for the company four years later, as it appealed to growing consumer concern and confusion about caffeine in soft drinks. The campaign launched 7UP 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.

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 7UP products remained at the company’s St. Louis facility.

The Seven-Up Company introduced Cherry 7UP and Diet Cherry 7UP in early 1987. Marketed to young people, the new products were designed as light, refreshing additions to the prestigious family of 7UP brand products and met with instant success across the country. To further boost awareness levels of 7UP in the nation’s youth market in 1987, The Seven-Up Company introduced Spot, a character derived from the red dot in the 7UP trademark. From his inception, Spot rapidly developed into a popular cartoon character represented on licensed items throughout the nation. The character was featured in 7UP advertising and packaging until 1995.

With the March 1995 acquisition of Dr Pepper/Seven-Up Companies, Inc. by Cadbury Schweppes plc, 7UP became part of Cadbury Beverages North America. Shortly thereafter, the brand underwent a revitalization reaching out to a younger audience. 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 designed and introduced to gain market share in a variety of single-serve purchase locations. In July 1996, the company changed its name to Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. That same year, “7UP. 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.

New advertising creative featuring actor/comedian Orlando Jones and the slogan “Make 7UP Yours” was launched in late 1999. The popular “Make 7UP Yours Campaign” continued in 2003 debuting comedian/actor Godfrey as the bumbling 7UP guy.

In 2000, 7UP debuted a bolder, cleaner, more contemporary packaging graphics image, focused at, but not exclusive to, 12- to 24-year-old consumers. Cherry 7UP, Diet Cherry 7UP and Diet 7UP also received flavor enhancements in 2000.

What’s in a name? Although C.L. Grigg never explained the origin of the soft drink’s name, many stories abound. The most popular story is that Grigg named the soft drink after he saw a cattle brand with the number “7″ and the letter “U”. Other stories suggest that the name reflects the drink’s seven flavors and carbonation, or that Grigg came up with the name while playing dice.

20 comments… add one

  • George wanamaker February 11, 2009, 7:39 am

    Dear Folks,
    I have a small collection of 7up bottles etc and I really enjoyed reading the history of 7up, I learned a lot. Though I don’t know if you answer questions, I have two. First, is there any source that would have photos of 7up bottles/cans through the years that I could us as dating? And second, I have a green quart 7up bottle with a paper label advertising lithiated lemon-lime soda for home and hospital use. It also has a small paper tab that goes about half way around the neck with the 7up on each side of it. It has a crown cap. Any idea of the dating of this bottle?

    Thank you,
    George Wanamaker

  • Kim February 19, 2009, 7:21 am

    Where can i find info on the Un-deer commericials?

  • YVONNE PARKER November 16, 2009, 7:48 pm

    7UP IS MY MOTHER’S FAVORITE SOFT DRINK. I WAS WANDERING IF THER WERE SAMLLER VERSIONS OF THIS DRINK. WE WILL BE CELEBRATING HER 90th BIRTHDAY IN JANUARY AND I WANTED TO GIVE EACH GUEST A SMALL SAMPLE IF THEY ARE AVAILABLE.

  • Sharon February 21, 2010, 1:48 pm

    I have the 7Up short brown squat bottle. I think it is from the 1930s. If anyone knows the exact time frame for these bottles let me know. I also have three cork bottle caps that say 7UP Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda. I do not know what year these are from either, but it has to be before 1950.

  • Tammy June 10, 2010, 6:08 pm

    I have a 16 0z green diet 7 up bottle. It has the “Return for Deposit” on it with three red dots at the top of the bottle above the word “Diet”. I have seen the same bottle with three white dots. I was wondering why they have different colored dots.
    Any idea what year they are from?

    Thank you,
    Tammy

  • Jerry L. Mathis September 9, 2010, 11:39 pm

    I am a collector of Coca Cola & Dr.Pepper memorabilia for over 35 yrs. I became a serious collector of 7-Up memorabilia 25 yrs ago. I have not done alot of reseach on the history of 7-Up. My understanding is Mr. Grigg started as The Howdy Co. in St. Louis,Mo. with Howdy Orange. He then developed Howdy’s Lithiated Lemon-Lime in the mid 1920′s. Then changed the name in the early 1930′s to 7-Up. However 10 yrs ago I was at the C-C collectors club annual convention looking for paper items to buy. I walked into a room that had many paper items to sell. I suddenly noticed a orange envelop. It had a Black

  • Jerry L. Mathis September 9, 2010, 11:53 pm

    circle in the upper L corner with a black 7-Up inside. There was a orange paper folded up inside. I opened up the paper & it was a poster for a contest. Save so many 7-Up bottle caps & get a model airplane. The poster had the Black circle with the 7-Up in all four corners. I then looked at the postmark on the envelope. It was postmarked July 1929. I believe this envelope is evidence that 7-Up was developed & sold before Oct. 1929 as listed in all of the history articles I have seen. Tell me what you know from your research.

    Thanks, Jerry

  • kémuel arbec December 1, 2010, 4:47 pm

    i found a couple of weeks ago a old bottle ritten on WOHDY its a product by 7 up but i d’ont know how old is it .. were i found it ? in the forest not far from my home

  • cliff visnaw December 13, 2010, 9:14 pm

    HI MY NAME IS CLIFF, I’VE BEEN COLLECTING SODA BOTTLES FOR OVER 20 YEARS. I HAVE ABOUT 150 7UP BOTTLES. MOST ARE THE EARLY EMBOSSED FROM 1929 TO 1939. I DO HAVE A FEW BROWN ONES FROM THE 1950′S AND I ALSO HAVE 7UP BOTTLES FROM FROM MEXICO FROM THE 30′S CLEAR AND GREEN. ALSO EARLY EMBOSSED FROM CANADA. BUT I AM STILL LOOKING FOR 2 AMBER SQUAT 7UP’S I NEED ONE FROM JOHNSON CITY TENN. AND ONE FROM NEW ORLEANS LA.I WOULD APPRECIATE ANY HELP IN LOCATEING THESE 2 BOTTLES. I HAVE APROXMATELY 20 AMBER/BROWN 7UP’S.IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT EARLY 7UP’S PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK. THANKS CLIFF.

  • JAMES JOHNSON December 15, 2010, 11:10 am

    WHEN WAS HOWDY ROOT BEER PRODUCED? IT WAS PRODUCED BY SEVEN UP.

  • Linda Wski January 4, 2011, 6:31 am

    Hi, I’m looking for a 7up collectibles club like the ones Coke Cola has. I’ve been collecting soda signs for a while and would like to sell, buy, and/or trade some where finding 7up signs and buyers isn’t so hit and miss. Any information would be appreciated.

    Oh, I’ve found one of the original 7up flange signs from 1947. I also have the Stout retro from 2002. I’d love to sell this sign to help recoup some of my other collection costs.

    Thanks everyone – Linda

  • Myk now Myk January 5, 2011, 5:04 pm

    I have a original 7up bottle from the mid Seventies a special edition Commemorative John Wooden UCLA

    like this one…
    http://www.tias.com/13107/PictPage/3923577198.html

  • Sharon January 10, 2011, 8:22 pm

    I have one of the amber (brown) 7up bottles. It has Property of Seven Up Rio Grande, CO and also Harlengen, TX on the bottom. How can I tell how old it is?

  • Patricia June 6, 2011, 3:42 pm

    I have a 16oz green 7 up bottle with a metal screw cap that seems unopened and intact, but the bottle is empty. “7 up” “no deposit no refill” and “dispose of properly” are embossed on the bottle. The strange thing is it seems to have a defect: there are two fine strands of glass bridging across from one side to the other inside the bottle. They entertwine in the middle. The bag I found it in was clearly marked “rare”, but I can’t find any information online. Can you help? Thanks.

  • JoAnne July 23, 2011, 7:12 am

    I have a green 7UP bottle, metal top, not screw off type, a friend brought it back from Saudi Arabia I think back in the mid 70s, it has 7UP on one side and the same logo in arabic on the other, it is still full of soda, never opened the bottom has several numbers on it 9 on the top, SG475 in the middle, and 74 on the bottom (maybe the year he bought it) . I am looking for value, possibly willing to sell it . It also has a indented circle in the glass right under the 7UP logo. thank you, JoAnne

  • Cox Family July 25, 2011, 8:29 am

    Thanks again for the bottle-I leaned something from 7-up History. It was an orange drink. Great time yesterday. Thanks for everything. Take care

    Tom

  • Denise August 6, 2011, 8:00 am

    I have a very cool unisex wristwatch that my dad got from a 7up convention (?) in the early 1970s. The face of the watch has a psychedelic flower design (done in 3 colors), with the number “7″ being the 7Up logo (red & white). All other letters are done in the psychedelic-type writing that was popular at that time (kind of “puffy”) and they are lime green. The watchband is white leather, and the band says Lucien Piccard. Can anybody tell me anything about this watch? I have never seen one like it. Thanks.

  • Jack Kerrigan April 11, 2012, 8:33 am

    I have a very rare 7oz., green 7up bottle, from what I believe is circa 1935. It has an embossed bottom and a white ACL label which reads: “7up ALKALINE REACTION THE GAS PURIFIES”.
    If anyone has any additional information or advertising for this particular bottle, I’d appreciate you passing it on. My email is jackkerrigan2003@yahoo.com. Thank you, Jack

  • Shari November 20, 2013, 2:25 pm

    I have a wooden 7 up box that was used for storage and delivery ! Anyone have an idea has old this could be and if there is any value to it . Thank you

  • Marilyn Edwards May 24, 2014, 6:12 am

    I have one share of 7-up stock purchased through Jackson-Atlantic, Inc. in 1970. I am trying to find out it’s value. Can anyone help me?

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