Brand Stories - 7UP

Having grown up in middle England in the late 80s/early 90s I can't claim that I was exposed to a plethora of culture, design and advertising and most of my younger memories are born out from long hot summer days running around the streets, parks and fields with my siblings and the other kids on the block we grew up with.

What I can remember of those summer days was the joy and excitement I would get from being given a couple of coins to go down to the corner shop at the end of our road and buy myself a bottle or can of 7UP. It was and still is the most refreshing drink you can wish for when you've done 20 laps of races, tig (tag), stuck in the mud or any one of the hundreds of games we'd play until the sun went down.

It tasted even sweeter just seeing that bright red 'cherry' dot between the 7 and the UP, but what elevated it beyond the taste and the bright red and green was just how cool you felt buying one. After all, this was 7UP, the same 7UP that Fido Dido was emblazoned on. Fido Dido was the coolest kid on the block. He was just COOL - he played guitar, drums, basketball , rode a skateboard and hell he even played cricket! I can remember idolising this lanky cartoon character and wanting to do everything he could do.

So it seems fitting to go back a few more decades and seek out a visual history of 7UP - with thanks to this great article 'Howdy 7UP' by J.J Sedelmaier I've managed to uncover some rare and beautiful 1950s brand and advertising guides for 7UP and share with you to show how the brand I know and love took shape.

So here's the quick history lesson. 7UP was created by Charles Leiper Grigg an advertiser and merchandiser who spent two years testing 11 different recipes for a lemon-flavoured drink. In 1929 Grigg formed The Howdy Corporation and started selling the catchy 'Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda'. (I can't say it has the same ring to it as 7UP). And even after a successful launch maybe that's what Grigg himself was thinking when he trademarked 7UP in 1936. By the late 40s 7UP was the third best-selling soft drink in the world. THE WORLD.

To keep this incredible popularity going 7UP created these extensive brand and advertising manuals in the 1950s to be sent out to both the manufacturers and the distributors to ensure a coherent, strong and desirable brand.

Over the years 7UP has had a number of different facelifts. I'm in the middle of collecting some of my favourite examples from the 50's to 70s for a future project but one thing that's always been consistent is the emerald green, red and white branding. Just as Coca Cola's red is iconic so too is this colour combo threesome. It's so much more than a lemon drink to me.

Seeing how 7UP once was and comparing it to the brand on the supermarket shelves today, I think it's safe to say that it's lost its allure, its 'cool' and in someways its soul. I really hope they can breathe fresh life into the brand, in much the same way that Turner Duckworth did to Coca Cola. Brand nostalgia should never be underestimated.