Pepsi Blue Concorde 1996

With its market shares eroding in the soft drinks market, the US Company Pepsi Cola needed to undertake a major re-branding of its products, therefore it spent $500 million US, on this project. Pepsi therefore started to look around for a spectacular and efficient manner to advertise its new brand style and in the process enhance its sales. It was eventually decided to have an advertisement operation involving the Concorde.

Pepsi started requesting proposals from both Air France British Airways, the only two operators of Concorde; Air France was awarded the contract from Pepsi. This mean that as the new identity of Pepsi was based on the colour blue, the aircraft would need to be painted blue. The issue of temperature is very important to Concorde, and the darker colours tend to build, retain and hold heat longer than lighter ones. It was necessary then for Air France maintenance staff to contact Aerospatiale, the French joint manufactures of Concorde, as the aircraft is only certified with a white colour scheme. They received approval to paint the fuselage in blue, but were advised to keep the wings in white due to the fuel temperature concerns.

Air France was advised to remain at M2.02 for no more than 20 minutes at the most, but no restrictions were placed on them below M1.70. This was not a concern for Air France as the aircraft was not due to operate any scheduled flight to New York or any other such long sectors.

The image directly above is copyright Carl Ford https://www.airteamimages.com

A part of the preparation included the constitution of a maintenance package, necessary handling tools and ground equipment, etc., as for any unscheduled Concorde operation. Concorde F-BTSD was selected for maintenance availability reasons. The paint work started during March 1996 at the Air France maintenance facility of Paris, Orly. It required 200 liters of paint and 2,000 hours of work to complete the tasks.

As this Concorde was due to be presented in British Airways backyard so to speak. Air France required its name to be kept close to the cockpit, as well as the seahorse logo, this in despite of the Pepsi blue paint scheme

A part of the preparation included the constitution of a maintenance package, necessary handling tools and ground equipment, etc., as for any unscheduled Concorde operation.

As this Concorde was due to be presented in British Airways backyard so to speak. Air France required its name to be kept close to the cockpit, as well as the seahorse logo, this in despite of the Pepsi blue paint scheme

The whole operation carried out to this Concorde was to be undertaken in secret, as Pepsi wanted to keep all the surprise for the moment when it would unveil its new identity, Pepsi Blue. Concorde “Sierra Delta” was thus covered by brown wrapping paper after it was painted; this would allow as few people as possible to be aware of the new paint scheme. It eventually left the hanger on March 31st during the  night, and was quickly rolled to the runway where it took off for London – Gatwick (LGW), where Pepsi had planned to receive its guests at the special launch event. It was Freud Communications that launched the new drink, Pepsi Blue, at Gatwick Airport with the revealing of Concorde branded with the colour and logo of the product. The Concorde was immediately towed to the hanger after its arrival, and made ready for the show.

And yet, a few days before the new brand was unveiled, Richard Branson had apparently heard about the advertisement operation, as proved ads for the Virgin Cola soft drink in the British press. A few articles about an Air France Concorde being repainted with a blue colour scheme were issued in the newspapers.

The show took place on 02 April 1996, with the presence of Claudia Schiffer, Andre Agassi, Cindy Crawford, and hundreds of journalists invited by Pepsi for the event. It was Freud Communications that launched the new drink, Pepsi Blue, at Gatwick Airport with the revealing of Concorde branded with the colour and logo of the product.

 

  • Lighting design – Patrick Woodroffe.

  • Lighting director and programming – Vince Foster.

  • Production – Robbie Williams.

  • Producer – Matthew Freud, Freud Communications.

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People were really astonished to see the Concorde with the blue livery. Flight attendants each had a special pin on their uniform designed for the occasion.

Afterwards, “Sierra Delta” started a promotion campaign in Europe and the Middle East. For the Pepsi commercial operation, there were a total of 16 flights which included the ferry flights from Orly, 10 cities were visited. Each flight, except the first and last ones, would have been occasions to go supersonic.

 

The promotional Flights

PHASE 1

 

Captain – Y. Pecresse
First Officer – B. Bachelet
Flight Engineer – A. Piccinini

31 March Paris (ORY)-London (LGW)
02 April London (LGW)-London (LGW)
03 April London (LGW)-Dublin (DUB)
03 April Dublin (DUB)-Dublin (DUB)
04 April Dublin (DUB)-Stockholm (ARN)
04 April Stockholm (ARN)-Stockholm (ARN)
04 April Stockholm (ARN)-Paris (CDG)

31 March Paris (ORY)-London (LGW)
02 April London (LGW)-London (LGW)
03 April London (LGW)-Dublin (DUB)
03 April Dublin (DUB)-Dublin (DUB)
04 April Dublin (DUB)-Stockholm (ARN)
04 April Stockholm (ARN)-Stockholm (ARN)
04 April Stockholm (ARN)-Paris (CDG)
06 April Paris (CDG)-Beirut (BEY)
07 April Beirut (BEY)-Dubai (DXB)
07 April Dubai (DXB)-Dubai (DXB)
07 April Dubai (DXB)-Jeddah (JED)
08 April Jeddah (JED)-Cairo (CAI)
08 April Cairo (CAI)-Milan (LIN)
09 April Milan (LIN)-Madrid (MAD)
09 April Madrid (MAD)-Madrid (MAD)
09 April Madrid (MAD)-Paris (ORY)

 

PHASE 2

 

Captain – G. Arondel
First Officer – P. Decamps
Flight Engineer – M. Suand

06 April Paris (CDG)-Beirut (BEY)
07 April Beirut (BEY)-Dubai (DXB)
07 April Dubai (DXB)-Dubai (DXB)
07 April Dubai (DXB)-Jeddah (JED)
08 April Jeddah (JED)-Cairo (CAI)
08 April Cairo (CAI)-Milan (LIN)
09 April Milan (LIN)-Madrid (MAD)
09 April Madrid (MAD)-Madrid (MAD)
09 April Madrid (MAD)-Paris (ORY)

The image directly above is copyright Carl Ford https://www.airteamimages.com