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Friday, March 27, 2015

7-Up - The Best Uncola In The World!

How many of you remember playing the classic children's game "Heads Up, Seven Up"? 

For those of you who may not know what I am talking about, or who are looking at me as if I have three heads, I shall explain.

"Heads Up, Seven Up" is a game that is played during your elementary school years.  This was a game played at my school to pass time in between classes, or to kill time before the school day ended.  Seven kids would be chosen at random, and the rest of the class would put their heads down at their desks so that they wouldn't be able to see anything.  One by one, each of the seven kids in the class would walk around the room and tap one of the kids on the head.  When the seven kids got back up to the front of the classroom, those seven kids that were tapped would stand up, and try to figure out which of the kids tapped them on the head.

If they guessed incorrectly, they would have to sit back down at their desk.  If they guessed right, they would switch places with the kid who tapped them, and then they would get the chance to do the tapping. 

It was basically a game in which you had to figure out a certain kid's tapping style...and it was a game in which you had to put on your best poker face, so that you were not found out.

But, hey, it was a lot of fun to play!

Besides, it has one of my favourite carbonated beverages in the title of the game...and yes, that's what this post is all about.

This post is all about the lemon-lime fizzy soda known by most as "7-Up"!  The "UNCOLA", as it is often called.

Would you believe that 7-Up turns eighty-six years old this year?  It was created by Charles Leiper Gregg, and originally went under the tongue twister like name of "Bib-Label Lethiated Lemon-Lime Soda".  Try saying that seven times fast!

The name was changed to 7-Up in 1936.

Interestingly enough, while the general consensus is that 7-Up was first available for purchase in 1929, the date that it was actually released has been debated.  While Gregg claimed that the soda was first released on October 15, 1929 - two weeks before the stock market crash that lead to "The Great Depression" - some sources claim the drink was available as early as February 1929.  Either way, the drink was the very first lemon-lime flavoured soda available to the world.

(Coca-Cola's version, "Sprite", wasn't available until 1961.)

But did you know that when 7-Up was first introduced, it wasn't just a delicious lemon-lime drink?  It was actually marketed as a cure for hangovers!  It's true!

I found this information out in a 2006 article from the Metropolitan News-Enterprise.  Back in 1931 - when prohibition was in full effect, an advertisement in the Monessen Daily Independent had advertised 7-Up as a counteractant to "Morning After Toxicity".  And several other newspapers made the same claim.

It's hard to say whether this has any validity, as I can't remember the last time I even had a hangover.  Anyone else reading this want to confirm that 7-Up relieved hangovers?

Another interesting fact about 7-Up?  Until 1950, the soda contained lithium citrate - a mood stabilizer!

Anyway, 7-Up has been a part of our world for over 80 years, so I suppose it is here to stay.

And I have a lot of wonderful memories of 7-Up.

When I was a kid, I used to visit my grandmother a lot, and she always had a supply of 7-Up in the house.  In most cases, it was the standard lemon-lime version.  However, on special occasions, she would have the cherry flavoured version of 7-Up.  And, I LOVE Cherry 7-Up!  I love it so much that I am almost considering writing a letter to the people in charge of 7-Up, asking them to bring Cherry 7-Up back to Canada!

Apparently, 7-Up is also available in Orange, Raspberry, and for a limited time, Pomegranate and Tropical Splash.  I admit that the orange one sounds like it might be good.  It may taste like carbonated "Five Alive" fruit cocktail.

Now, every good company needs a decent mascot to help advertise the product.  After all, A&W had the Root Beer Bear.  Domino's had the claymation Noid.  McDonald's has a whole slew of characters from Ronald McDonald to the Hamburglar.

Well, 7-Up had three different mascots in their lifetime.

During the 1950's, the company used a rooster for a mascot.  His name was Fast Freddie, and his role was the ultimate party planner.  He showed people how to have a good time by throwing parties, hosting picnics, and doing all the fun things that rebel teenagers used to do during the 1950s.  And of course, in every celebration there was always a massive supply of 7-Up!

There was also a mascot that was created in 1985 by Joanna Ferrone and Sue Rose with the name Fido Dido.  He basically looked like one of the characters you might find in the Nickelodeon series "Doug".  He started appearing in 7-Up ads in the mid-1980s, and has sporadically appeared in 7-Up commercials since.

However, the 7-Up mascot that I remember this most was introduced in 1987, and he appeared in 7-Up ads throughout my entire childhood.

You know that little red dot that appears in the logo of 7-Up?  Well, in 1987, the dot suddenly became a whole lot...cooler.

Dressed in his darkest Ray-Bans and a pair of sneakers, "Cool Spot" dominated television commercials for 7-Up throughout the late 1980s and 1990s.  Have a look at a couple of commercials with Cool Spot below!

And Cool Spot became so popular that there were even a couple of video games based on the character!  Sure, the video games were total 7-Up propaganda...but the game - to its credit - was incredibly challenging.  I only managed to finish it once!

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