For those of us who came of age glued to a TV in the ’80s, we knew that Pepsi was the “choice of new generation,” if only because commercial after commercial featuring superstars like Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie told us it was. But that distinction now belongs to the folks behind Malt-O-Meal, who snapped up the trademark after Pepsi let it lapse.
Pepsi first began using “choice of a new generation” slogan in 1984 but says it hasn’t used in advertising since 1991. So when Pepsi’s trademark on the phrase expired in 2006 and the beverage giant didn’t reapply, it became fair game for anyone else. And now it belongs to MOM Brands, formerly known as the Malt-O-Meal Company, which plans to use the slogan in a campaign for its Better Oats brand of oatmeal.
“We’re a little bit scrappy,” a company exec tells AdAge. “It makes sense. We’re not force-fitting it. Better Oats is the choice of a new generation. It just happens to apply to oatmeal, not cola.”
One intellectual property attorney explains that Pepsi could attempt to hold onto the slogan by claiming “‘residual goodwill’… even though you are no longer using the mark, consumers [could] still associate that mark with the original user.”
But a lawyer for MOM tells AdAge he’s not terribly worried about that: “Anybody who had an objection had an opportunity … to object. No one objected… I’m fairly confident Pepsi monitors those publications.”
Now it’s time to get nostalgic and look back at the Pepsi ad that introduced the world to a young Alfonso Ribeiro: