During World War II, Coke and Pepsi were competing for the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of every American. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.) Coke had already managed to develop a strong following stateside with the promise that every American in uniform could buy a Coke for a nickle no matter how remote the outpost. In response, Pepsi rolled out what I like to call the first social network campaign – “a recorded message from your man in service”.
Pepsi set up several mobile recording stations at training centers around the world where soldiers were preparing for service. Soldiers stepped into a recording booth to read letters, sing songs or just say a few meaningful words to far away family, friends and fiancée. That session was made into 78Rpm thin acetate records and then mailed to the loved one to be played on the family record player. Over and over again, if they wished. You could say it was the very first example of voice mail. (Here’s a YouTube video of one of these records if you are interested.)