Crystal Pepsi is back. Let’s bring back the Pepsi Concorde too!
In 1996, the Pepsi Cola company underwent a major rebranding. As part of this, they signed a deal with Air France to charter the Concorde and paint it blue. They put the Pepsi logo on the tail, and the word Pepsi on the side of the plane. The new Pepsi can design was set to be electric blue in color, to distinguish it from the red cans of Coca Cola.
Pepsi arranged for the Concorde to make 16 flights in this new color scheme. Sounds expensive, this is the same soda company that hired Michael Jackson in his heyday too.
Commissioning special vehicles to promote a product is nothing new. But chartering the Concorde is a bit over the top, to say the least. At the time, there were only 20 Concorde aircraft in existence. Pepsi kept the cost confidential, but the cost of just painting a Boeing 747 can exceed $150,000. The paint they used was specially designed to handle the intense heat of the Concorde. Workers spent 2,000 hours and used 200 liters of blue paint.
Eventually, the plane was flown to London’s Gatwick Airport, where hundreds of journalists were assembled from 40 countries to cover the story. For the big reveal, Pepsi hired supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford, as well as tennis star Andre Agassi.
The Pepsi Concorde completed 16 flights to ten cities in Europe and the Middle East. Due to the paint, the Concorde had to fly at Mach 1.5 or slower throughout the trip. After the tour, the Concorde was restored to its original Air France colors.