Iconic Ads: Diet Pepsi – Ray’s Song


Ray Charles immediately improved the product’s credibility, which led to an increase in sales.

Ray Charles appeared in a Joy Pytka-directed Diet Pepsi commercial that pushed an extravagant chartbuster on Super Bowl viewers.

After another lucrative campaign using celebrities by Diet Pepsi, the advertising pattern of the 1980s continued into the new decade.

When Diet Pepsi needed a spokesman in January 1989, Ray Charles stepped up. Commercials featuring him were filmed in black and white. He sang the Pepsi jingle and played the piano in one ad. Ray Charles was an iconic musician who had great success over many years. His ability to move across genres and his deep voice made him famous. He was a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a Grammy winner.

Ray Charles was a brilliant businessman in addition to being a talented musician. His record label and eponymous merchandise were huge successes, and he made history as the first African American to do so. So it was a huge win for Diet Pepsi when he agreed to be their ambassador. Charles immediately improved the product’s credibility, which led to an increase in sales. Ray Charles and Diet Pepsi had a fruitful and long-lasting collaboration. Commercials featuring Charles persisted, and he even performed some print advertising for the company.

The ad’s success came as a complete surprise. The previous several years had seen Diet Pepsi’s slogans come and go, and “the right one” from 1989 seemed out of place.

An advertisement that featured Ray Charles performing the song “You Got the Right One, Baby” with the backing vocals of the Raylettes—a trio of three women—who responded to his words with “Uh huh!” debuted at the 1990 Super Bowl. People adored it, and its popularity skyrocketed to levels never before seen in advertising. Sales were more than expected, and the campaign went beyond traditional advertising into the American lexicon.

Almost by chance, Diet Pepsi found this marketing goldmine. Alfred Merrin and jingle writer Peter Cofield came up with the commercial and jingle. Peter added the word “baby” to the tagline “the right one” to make it more suitable for Ray Charles’s voice. Assisting Charles’ vocal cohorts After experimenting with “doo-woo” and other two-syllable options, the Raylettes finally settled on “Uh huh.” The inventive duo had two more syllables to give to the Raylettes. “It could have been ‘doo-wop,'” observes Merrin. For the record, it was “uh-huh,” a two-syllable noise that denotes “affirmativeness.”

In the aftermath, Pepsi also plastered Ray Charles and the Raylettes—three females with black wigs and golden sequins—in life-size cutouts around supermarkets. There were picture “opportunities”—Pepsi’s term—to go along with the cutout characters. Customers also used karaoke booths inspired by Japan to record their renditions of the “uh-huh” jingle.

When a simple “yup” would have sufficed, the Coca-Cola Company allegedly attempted to achieve the exact opposite by outlawing the usage of “uh-huh” in its corporate headquarters. Coca-Cola disputes the allegation.

In the 1990s, Pepsi’s Yehi hai right choice, Baby in Hinglish, the Indian adaptation of the campaign, became wildly famous. To read about it, visit – https://onlykutts.com/index.php/2021/07/10/pepsi-yehi-hai-right-choice-baby-a-ha/

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