|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2011)|
|Country of origin||USA|
|Related products||Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola|
Caffeine-Free Pepsi-Cola was introduced, under the brand name Pepsi Free, in 1982 by PepsiCo as the first major-brand caffeine-free cola in years. (The Canada Dry Company had marketed "Sport Cola," which was also caffeine-free, in the 1960s, but that brand of cola was not a success.) A sugar-free variant, then known as Diet Pepsi Free, was also introduced. The Pepsi Free name itself was phased out in 1987, two years after the brand name became the punchline of one of the jokes in Back to the Future, and today these colas are known simply as Caffeine-Free Pepsi and Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi. The term "Free" had been reintroduced by PepsiCo on their Sierra Mist line in response to Coca-Cola's successful introduction of their Zero line (although the "Free" refers to a lack of sugar rather than caffeine, since Sierra Mist is already caffeine-free), though in 2008 that drink had reverted to its previous name of Diet Sierra Mist.
When it was first introduced, Caffeine Free Pepsi's label background was originally red, but to avoid any confusion with Coca-Cola, the background color was changed to gold in 1987. As part of Pepsi's redesigning their background in 1998 with the blue ocean background, Pepsi Caffeine Free joined right in. In 2008, the caffeine-free version has reverted to its gold background. (Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola labels also have a gold background. The logo letters are bordered in red for the regular variety, in the case of the diet variety, they are entirely red in color.)
In popular culture
Pepsi Free was the subject of a scene in the classic 1985 film Back to the Future. Upon entering a café in 1955, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) asks for a TaB (Coca-Cola's first version of a sugar-free soft drink, which was not available until 1963) and is told that he cannot have a "tab," meaning an account where goods are sold on the basis of credit and not paid for immediately, unless he orders something. He then asks for a Pepsi Free (also not available in the 1950s) and is told, "If you want a Pepsi, pal, you're gonna pay for it!" ("Free" is here being mistaken for gratis.) Finally, he asks for "something without any sugar in it," and is served black coffee. This scene was one of the factors that led to PepsiCo re-branding the cola.
A can of Diet Pepsi Free can be seen beside Marty's alarm clock towards the beginning of the movie when Doc (Christopher Lloyd) calls him to remind him to meet him at the mall. The can is also seen toward the end of the movie when Marty wakes up the morning after Doc drops him off at his house in 1985.