Pepsiman is an official Pepsi mascot from Pepsi's Japanese corporate branch. The design of the Pepsiman character is attributed to Canadian comic book artist Travis Charest, created sometime around the mid 1990s. A total of twelve commercials were created featuring the Pepsiman. Most, if not all, of Pepsiman's commercials used foreign commercial actors and not Japanese commercial actors.
Each commercial featuring Pepsiman averaged thirty seconds, with a few hitting the one minute mark. The commercial plots would center around Pepsiman coming to the aid of thirsty individuals. Usually there would also be a slapstick element to the commercials.
Pepsiman has no distinguishing facial features, except when he opens his mouth to make a sound in the Pepsiman commercials. The sound he makes is supposed to be the sound similar to that of a can of soda being opened up. His body however, is recognized as being an athletic build. His body is also made of a metallic silver compound with a distinguishing Pepsi logo
on his chest.
His role in the advertisements is to appear with Pepsi to thirsty people or people craving soda. Pepsiman happens to appear at just the right time with the product. After delivering the beverage, sometimes Pepsiman would encounter a difficult and action oriented situation which would result in injury. Pepsiman's injuries would not feature blood or gore, so the end result is slapstick in tone, an example being the ad where Pepsiman - in a rush to deliver Pepsi to a group of American teenagers in a fast food resteraunt - runs into a window, and is later shown to have a flat face as a result of the impact.
A mascot similar to Pepsiman was featured as a Japanese Exclusive Transformers
toy "Pepsi Convoy
," (Convoy being the Japanese name for Optimus Prime) which was based on G1 Optimus Prime. An expanded version of the toy's bio by the writer reveals that Pepsi Convoy is not in fact a new form of Pepsiman, but could probably be considered a brother or cousin. Pepsi Convoy's metal is described as being "sentient metal" fused with Pepsi Cola.
It is shown that Pepsi Convoy is made from this same living metal when a sample was given to the Transformers Autobots.
Pepsiman took on three different outfits, each one representing the current style of the Pepsi can in distribution.
- 1st - Red vertical stripe covering the middle third of his body, save for the head and neck. The rest was all silver, and the Pepsi logo on the chest. This matched the very early 90's Pepsi can of the red, white and blue vertical design.
- The first six commercials featured this outfit.
- 2nd - A 70% blue/30% silver outfit, with the blue from the feet up to the chest, and sloped on a 45 degree angle; said Pepsi stayed the same. This matched the mid 90's change of Pepsi can with the mostly blue look.
- The next five commercials featured this outfit.
- 3rd - The most recent version is exactly like the second design, but now he has a lemon covering his head. He also gained the ability to speak, uttering the word "no" in a reverb, robotic sort of way in response to bystanders identifying him as Pepsiman. This, to no surprise, was to advertise the new Pepsi Twist lemon hybrid that came out on the market back in 2003.
- The final two commercials featured this outfit.
Pepsiman made two more notable appearances, this time in the video game
world. This makes him the second (and to date, last) soft drink mascot to star in a video game, after Cool Spot
In 1996, Sega-AM2
released the Sega Saturn
version of their arcade fighting game Fighting Vipers
. In this game Pepsiman was included as a special character, with his specialty listed as being the ability to "quench one's thirst". He was a strong character in the game, and being current with the time of release, his physical appearance was that of the 1st Pepsiman (silver & red).
However, while the game itself was later released in the United States and Europe, it did so without the Pepsi license, meaning all the Pepsi logos as well as Pepsiman himself were removed from the game. The sequel to Fighting Vipers, Fighting Vipers 2, didn't make use of the Pepsi license or Pepsiman character again, neither in the arcade version or Sega Dreamcast release. Also, the 2005 Japan-only Mobile version and PlayStation 2 emulation of Fighting Vipers both contain the Pepsi logos, but not the Pepsiman character. As a result, the original Japanese Sega Saturn release of Fighting Vipers remains a highly coveted collectible for Pepsiman fans.
Pepsiman, the video game
, a Japanese gaming company by the name of KID
(Kindle Imagine Develop) created a video game
for the PlayStation
. It basically expanded on the same type of adventures that Pepsiman encountered in the commercials. The game itself was a hybrid of the old arcade game Paperboy
and PlayStation game Crash Bandicoot
. As Pepsiman, the player could run, skateboard, roll, and stumble through various areas, avoiding dangers and collecting cans of Pepsi all the while. If certain time constraints were not met, you would not reach the thirsty people at the end of the level to quench their thirst. Each stage was broken up by minigame-like sequences in which the camera reversed directions and Pepsiman would have to run away from a large object threatening to crush him. Several humorous references to rival soft-drink companies were made, such as a level which remakes a commercial in which Pepsiman was chased down a dark alley by a truck emblazoned with a logo which bore a strong resemblance to Coca Cola
's (titled "Cave Pizza")..
By default, Pepsiman was kitted up with his second costume, but his original costume was an unlockable extra. Additionally, by collecting all of the pepsi cans in every level (100 per level), a wire-frame version of Pepsiman's costume. The game also featured bizzare cutscenes between levels, which consisted entirely of a somewhat obese caucasian male (played by movie actor Mike Butters) drinking Pepsi, eating chips and pizza, and watching TV while delivering lines, mostly Pepsi slogans rendered in humorously broken Engrish.
The game was only released in Japan, but is easy to find in import game collector circles.
There is a female version of Pepsiman and she is known as Pepsiwoman
. Only one commercial was made to the public's knowledge and it was during the Pepsi Twist
Rumors circulated throughout Japan that rival soft drink company Nishimoto created a viral marketing campaign depicting Pepsiwoman in a variety of sexual positions. This caused Pepsi to cancel the planned advertisements.
- Episode 63 of the Yakitate Japan anime featured a Pepsiman parody as one of the series' trademark reactions. Pepsiman has a green and red pattern closer to Mountain Dew than Pepsi, and makes a "Zhwaaaa" sound effect. The cola in reference was pseudonymed "Pepmi" and the hero parody subsequently "Pepmiman".