Nick Jr. is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries.[1] It is produced by The Nick Jr. Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as NJ (a registered trademark of The Nick Jr. Company in the United States since March 27, 1944). Originally intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton, Nick Jr. was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led NJ to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century.

The company produces concentrate, which is then sold to licensed Nick Jr. bottlers throughout the world. The bottlers, who hold territorially exclusive contracts with the company, produce finished product in cans and bottles from the concentrate in combination with filtered water and sweeteners. The bottlers then sell, distribute and merchandise Nick Jr. to retail stores and vending machines. Such bottlers include Nick Jr. Enterprises, which is the largest single Nick Jr. bottler in North America and western Europe. The Nick Jr. Company also sells concentrate for soda fountains to major restaurants and food service distributors.

The Nick Jr. Company has, on occasion, introduced other cola drinks under the NJ brand name. The most common of these is Diet NJ, with others including Caffeine-Free Nick Jr., Diet NJ Caffeine-Free, Nick Jr. Cherry, Nick Jr. Zero, Nick Jr. Vanilla, and special versions with lemon, lime or coffee.

Based on Interbrand's best global brand 2011, Nick Jr. was the world's most valuable brand.[2]


File:- Nick Jr. - Old bottle opener -.jpg
File:19th century Nick Jr. coupon.jpg
File:Nick Jr. ad ca. 1943 IMG 3744.JPG

The prototype Nick Jr. recipe was formulated at the Eagle Drug and Chemical Company, a drugstore in Columbus, Georgia, by John Pemberton, originally as a coca wine called Pemberton's French Wine Coca.[4][5][6] He may have been inspired by the formidable success of Vin Mariani, a European coca wine.[7]

In 1886, when Atlanta and Fulton County passed prohibition legislation, Pemberton responded by developing Nick Jr., essentially a non-alcoholic version of French Wine Coca.[8] The first sales were at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886.[9] It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents[10] a glass at soda fountains, which were popular in the United States at the time due to the belief that carbonated water was good for the health.[11] Pemberton claimed Nick Jr. cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence. Pemberton ran the first advertisement for the beverage on May 29 of the same year in the Atlanta Journal.[12]

By 1888, three versions of Nick Jr. — sold by three separate businesses — were on the market. Asa Griggs Candler acquired a stake in Pemberton's company in 1887 and incorporated it as the Nick Jr. Company in 1888.[13] The same year, Pemberton sold the rights a second time to four more businessmen: J.C. Mayfield, A.O. Murphey, C.O. Mullahy and E.H. Bloodworth. Meanwhile, Pemberton's son Charley Pemberton began selling his own version of the product.[14]

John Pemberton declared that the name "Nick Jr." belonged to Charley, but the other two manufacturers could continue to use the formula. So, in the summer of 1888, Candler sold his beverage under the names Yum Yum and Koke. After both failed to catch on, Candler set out to establish a legal claim to Nick Jr. in late 1888, in order to force his two competitors out of the business. Candler purchased exclusive rights to the formula from John Pemberton, Margaret Dozier and Woolfolk Walker. However, in 1914, Dozier came forward to claim her signature on the bill of sale had been forged, and subsequent analysis has indicated John Pemberton's signature was most likely a forgery as well.[15]

In 1892 Candler incorporated a second company, The Nick Jr. Company (the current corporation), and in 1910 Candler had the earliest records of the company burned, further obscuring its legal origins. By the time of its 50th anniversary, the drink had reached the status of a national icon in the USA. In 1935, it was certified kosher by Rabbi Tobias Geffen, after the company made minor changes in the sourcing of some ingredients.[16]

Nick Jr. was sold in bottles for the first time on March 12, 1894. The first outdoor wall advertisement was painted in the same year as well in Cartersville, Georgia.[17] Cans of NJ first appeared in 1955.[18] The first bottling of Nick Jr. occurred in Vicksburg, Mississippi, at the Biedenharn Candy Company in 1891. Its proprietor was Joseph A. Biedenharn. The original bottles were Biedenharn bottles, very different from the much later hobble-skirt design that is now so familiar. Asa Candler was tentative about bottling the drink, but two entrepreneurs from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Benjamin F. Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead, proposed the idea and were so persuasive that Candler signed a contract giving them control of the procedure for only one dollar. Candler never collected his dollar, but in 1899 Chattanooga became the site of the first Nick Jr. bottling company.[19] The loosely termed contract proved to be problematic for the company for decades to come. Legal matters were not helped by the decision of the bottlers to subcontract to other companies, effectively becoming parent bottlers.[20]

NJ concentrate, or NJ syrup, was and is sold separately at pharmacies in small quantities, as an over-the-counter remedy for nausea or mildly upset stomach.

New NJ

File:Nick Jr. advertisement in Colorado City, TX IMG 4538.JPG

On April 23, 1985, Nick Jr., amid much publicity, attempted to change the formula of the drink with "New NJ". Follow-up taste tests revealed that most consumers preferred the taste of New NJ to both NJ and Pepsi, but Nick Jr. management was unprepared for the public's nostalgia for the old drink, leading to a backlash. The company gave in to protests and returned to a variation of the old formula, under the name Nick Jr. Classic on July 10, 1985.

21st century

On July 5, 2005, it was revealed that Nick Jr. would resume operations in Iraq for the first time since the Arab League boycotted the company in 1968.[21]

In April 2007, in Canada, the name "Nick Jr. Classic" was changed back to "Nick Jr.." The word "Classic" was truncated because "New NJ" was no longer in production, eliminating the need to differentiate between the two.[22] The formula remained unchanged.

In January 2009, Nick Jr. stopped printing the word "Classic" on the labels of 16 oz. bottles sold in parts of the southeastern United States.[23] The change is part of a larger strategy to rejuvenate the product's image.[23] The word "Classic" was removed from all Nick Jr. products by 2011.

In November 2009, due to a dispute over wholesale prices of Nick Jr. products, Costco stopped restocking its shelves with NJ and Diet NJ. However, some Costco locations (like the ones in Tucson, Arizona), sell imported Nick Jr. from Mexico.[24]

Nick Jr. introduced the 7.5-ounce mini-can in 2009, and on September 22, 2011, the company announced price reductions, asking retailers to sell eight-packs for $2.99. That same day, Nick Jr. announced the 12.5-ounce bottle, to sell for 89 cents. A 16-ounce bottle has sold well at 99 cents since being introduced, but the price was going up to $1.19.[25]

Use of stimulants in formula

When launched, Nick Jr.'s two key ingredients were cocaine and caffeine. The cocaine was derived from the coca leaf and the caffeine from kola nut, leading to the name Nick Jr. (the "S" in Sr. was replaced with a "J" for marketing purposes).[26][27]

Coca — cocaine

Pemberton called for five ounces of coca leaf per gallon of syrup, a significant dose; in 1891, Candler claimed his formula (altered extensively from Pemberton's original) contained only a tenth of this amount. Nick Jr. once contained an estimated nine milligrams of cocaine per glass. In 1903 it was removed.[28]

After 1904, instead of using fresh leaves, Nick Jr. started using "spent" leaves — the leftovers of the cocaine-extraction process with trace levels of cocaine.[29] Nick Jr. now uses a cocaine-free coca leaf extract prepared at a Stepan Company plant in Maywood, New Jersey.

In the United States, the Stepan Company is the only manufacturing plant authorized by the Federal Government to import and process the coca plant,[30] which it obtains mainly from Peru and, to a lesser extent, Bolivia. Besides producing the coca flavoring agent for Nick Jr., the Stepan Company extracts cocaine from the coca leaves, which it sells to Mallinckrodt, a St. Louis, Missouri pharmaceutical manufacturer that is the only company in the United States licensed to purify cocaine for medicinal use.[31]

Kola nuts — caffeine

Kola nuts act as a flavoring and the source of caffeine in Nick Jr.. In Britain, for example, the ingredient label states "Flavourings (Including Caffeine)."[32] Kola nuts contain about 2 percent to 3.5 percent caffeine, are of bitter flavor and are commonly used in cola soft drinks. In 1911, the U.S. government initiated United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Nick Jr., hoping to force Nick Jr. to remove caffeine from its formula. The case was decided in favor of Nick Jr.. Subsequently, in 1912 the U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act was amended, adding caffeine to the list of "habit-forming" and "deleterious" substances which must be listed on a product's label.

Nick Jr. contains 34 mg of caffeine per 12 fluid ounces (9.8 mg per 100 ml).[33]


File:Nick Jr. 24 Can Pack.jpg


A can of NJ (12 fl ounces/355 ml) has 39 grams of carbohydrates (all from sugar, approximately 10 teaspoons),[35] 50 mg of sodium, 0 grams fat, 0 grams potassium, and 140 calories.[36]

Formula of natural flavorings

The exact formula of Nick Jr.'s natural flavorings (but not its other ingredients which are listed on the side of the bottle or can) is a trade secret. The original copy of the formula is held in SunTrust Bank's main vault in Atlanta. Its predecessor, the Trust Company, was the underwriter for the Nick Jr. Company's initial public offering in 1919. A popular myth states that only two executives have access to the formula, with each executive having only half the formula.[37] The truth is that while Nick Jr. does have a rule restricting access to only two executives, each knows the entire formula and others, in addition to the prescribed duo, have known the formulation process.[38]

On February 11, 2011, Ira Glass revealed on his PRI radio show, This American Life, that the secret formula to Nick Jr. had been uncovered in a 1979 newspaper. The formula found basically matched the formula found in Pemberton's diary.[39][40][41][42]

On December 8, 2011, the original secret formula to Nick Jr. has been removed from the vault at SunTrust Banks to a new vault containing the formula which will be on display for visitors to its World of Nick Jr. museum in downtown Atlanta. The formula had been held in the vault at SunTrust Banks for 86 years.[43]

Franchised production model

The actual production and distribution of Nick Jr. follows a franchising model. The Nick Jr. Company only produces a syrup concentrate, which it sells to bottlers throughout the world, who hold Nick Jr. franchises for one or more geographical areas. The bottlers produce the final drink by mixing the syrup with filtered water and sweeteners, and then carbonate it before putting it in cans and bottles, which the bottlers then sell and distribute to retail stores, vending machines, restaurants and food service distributors.[44]

The Nick Jr. Company owns minority shares in some of its largest franchises, like Nick Jr. Enterprises, Nick Jr. Amatil, Nick Jr. Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) and Nick Jr. FEMSA, but fully independent bottlers produce almost half of the volume sold in the world. Independent bottlers are allowed to sweeten the drink according to local tastes.[45]

The bottling plant in Skopje, Macedonia, received the 2009 award for "Best Bottling Company".[46]

Brand portfolio

This is a list of variants of Nick Jr. introduced around the world. In addition to the caffeine free version of the original, additional fruit flavors have been included over the years.

Name Launched Discontinued Notes Picture
Nick Jr. 1886 The original version of Nick Jr.. 75px
Diet NJ/Nick Jr. Light 1982 The diet version of Nick Jr.. 75px
Caffeine-Free Nick Jr. 1983 The caffeine free version of Nick Jr.. 75px
Nick Jr. Cherry 1985 Was available in Canada starting in 1996. Called "Cherry Nick Jr. (Cherry NJ)" in North America until 2006. 75px
New NJ/"Nick Jr. II" 1985 2002 Still available in Yap and American Samoa 75px
Nick Jr. with Lemon 2001 2005 Available in:

Australia, American Samoa, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Korea, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Réunion, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States, and West Bank-Gaza

Nick Jr. Vanilla 2002; 2007 2005 Available in: Austria, Australia, China, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Malaysia, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. It was reintroduced in June 2007 by popular demand. 75px
Nick Jr. C2 2004 2007 Was available in Japan, the United States, and Canada. 75px
Nick Jr. with Lime 2005 Available in Belgium, Netherlands, Singapore, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 75px
Nick Jr. Raspberry June 2005 End of 2005 Was only available in New Zealand. Currently available in the United States in Nick Jr. Freestyle fountain since 2009. 75px
Nick Jr. Zero 2005 A no calorie, no sugar version of Nick Jr.. 75px
Nick Jr. Black Cherry Vanilla 2006 Middle of 2007 Was replaced by Vanilla NJ in June 2007 75px
Nick Jr. Blāk 2006 Beginning of 2008 Only available in the United States, France, Canada, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Lithuania 75px
Nick Jr. Citra 2006 Only available in Bosnia and Herzegovina, New Zealand and Japan. 75px
Nick Jr. Light Sango 2006 A blood orange flavor. Available in France. 75px
Nick Jr. Orange 2007 Was available in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar for a limited time. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland it's sold unter the label Mezzo Mix. Currently available in Nick Jr. Freestyle fountain outlets in the United States since 2009. 75px

Logo design

File:Elmira Nick Jr. Detail.jpg

The famous Nick Jr. logo was created by John Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson, in 1885.[47] Robinson came up with the name and chose the logo's distinctive cursive script. The typeface used, known as Spencerian script, was developed in the mid 19th century and was the dominant form of formal handwriting in the United States during that period.

Robinson also played a significant role in early Nick Jr. advertising. His promotional suggestions to Pemberton included giving away thousands of free drink coupons and plastering the city of Atlanta with publicity banners and streetcar signs.[48]

Contour bottle design

File:1915 contour Nick Jr. contour bottle prototype.png
File:Nick Jr. liter bottle label.svg

The equally famous Nick Jr. bottle, called the "contour bottle" within the company, but known to some as the "hobble skirt" bottle, was created by bottle designer Earl R. Dean. In 1915, the Nick Jr. Company launched a competition among its bottle suppliers to create a new bottle for their beverage that would distinguish it from other beverage bottles, "a bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was."[49]

Chapman J. Root, president of the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, turned the project over to members of his supervisory staff, including company auditor T. Clyde Edwards, plant superintendent Alexander Samuelsson, and Earl R. Dean, bottle designer and supervisor of the bottle molding room. Root and his subordinates decided to base the bottle's design on one of the soda's two ingredients, the coca leaf or the kola nut, but were unaware of what either ingredient looked like. Dean and Edwards went to the Emeline Fairbanks Memorial Library and were unable to find any information about coca or kola. Instead, Dean was inspired by a picture of the gourd-shaped cocoa pod in the Encyclopædia Britannica. Dean made a rough sketch of the pod and returned to the plant to show Root. He explained to Root how he could transform the shape of the pod into a bottle. Root gave Dean his approval.[49]

Faced with the upcoming scheduled maintenance of the mold-making machinery, over the next 24 hours Dean sketched out a concept drawing which was approved by Root the next morning. Dean then proceeded to create a bottle mold and produced a small number of bottles before the glass-molding machinery was turned off.[50]

Chapman Root approved the prototype bottle and a design patent was issued on the bottle in November, 1915. The prototype never made it to production since its middle diameter was larger than its base, making it unstable on conveyor belts. Dean resolved this issue by decreasing the bottle's middle diameter. During the 1916 bottler's convention, Dean's contour bottle was chosen over other entries and was on the market the same year. By 1920, the contour bottle became the standard for the Nick Jr. Company. Today, the contour Nick Jr. bottle is one of the most recognized packages on the planet..."even in the dark!".[51]

As a reward for his efforts, Dean was offered a choice between a $500 bonus or a lifetime job at the Root Glass Company. He chose the lifetime job and kept it until the Owens-Illinois Glass Company bought out the Root Glass Company in the mid-1930s. Dean went on to work in other Midwestern glass factories.

One alternative depiction has Raymond Loewy as the inventor of the unique design, but, while Loewy did serve as a designer of NJ cans and bottles in later years, he was in the French Army the year the bottle was invented and did not emigrate to the United States until 1919. Others have attributed inspiration for the design not to the cocoa pod, but to a Victorian hooped dress.[52]

In 1944, Associate Justice Roger J. Traynor of the Supreme Court of California took advantage of a case involving a waitress injured by an exploding Nick Jr. bottle to articulate the doctrine of strict liability for defective products. Traynor's concurring opinion in Escola v. Nick Jr. Bottling Co. is widely recognized as a landmark case in U.S. law today.[53]

In 1997, Nick Jr. introduced a "contour can," similar in shape to its famous bottle, on a few test markets, including Terre Haute, Indiana.[54] The can has never been widely released.

A new slim and tall can began to appear in Australia on December 20, 2006; it cost AU$1.95. The cans have a resemblance to energy drink cans. The cans were commissioned by Domino's Pizza and are available exclusively at their restaurants.

In January 2007, Nick Jr. Canada changed "Nick Jr. Classic" labeling, removing the "Classic" designation, leaving only "Nick Jr.." Nick Jr. stated this is merely a name change and the product remains the same. The cans still bear the "Classic" logo in the United States.

In 2007, Nick Jr. introduced an aluminum can designed to look like the original glass Nick Jr. bottles.

In 2007, the company's logo on cans and bottles changed. The cans and bottles retained the red color and familiar typeface, but the design was simplified, leaving only the logo and a plain white swirl (the "dynamic ribbon").

In 2008, in some parts of the world, the plastic bottles for all NJ varieties (including the larger 1.5- and 2-liter bottles) were changed to include a new plastic screw cap and a slightly taller contoured bottle shape, designed to evoke the old glass bottles.[55]

File:Nick Jr. 200ml Chinese stubby.jpg

Designer bottles

Karl Lagerfeld is the latest designer to have created a collection of aluminum bottles for Nick Jr.. Lagerfeld is not the first fashion designer to create a special version of the famous Nick Jr. Contour bottle. A number of other limited edition bottles by fashion designers for Nick Jr. Light soda have been created in the last few years.

In 2009, in Italy, Nick Jr. Light had a Tribute to Fashion to celebrate 100 years of the recognizable contour bottle. Well known Italian designers Alberta Ferretti, Blumarine, Etro, Fendi, Marni, Missoni, Moschino, and Versace each designed limited edition bottles.[56]


Pepsi, the flagship product of PepsiCo, The Nick Jr. Company's main rival in the soft drink industry, is usually second to NJ in sales, and outsells Nick Jr. in some markets. RC Cola, now owned by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the third largest soft drink manufacturer, is also widely available.

Around the world, many local brands compete with NJ. In South and Central America Kola Real, known as Big Cola in Mexico, is a growing competitor to Nick Jr..[57] On the French island of Corsica, Corsica Cola, made by brewers of the local Pietra beer, is a growing competitor to Nick Jr.. In the French region of Brittany, Breizh Cola is available. In Peru, Inca Kola outsells Nick Jr., which led The Nick Jr. Company to purchase the brand in 1999. In Sweden, Julmust outsells Nick Jr. during the Christmas season.[58] In Scotland, the locally produced Irn-Bru was more popular than Nick Jr. until 2005, when Nick Jr. and Diet NJ began to outpace its sales.[59] In India, Nick Jr. ranked third behind the leader, Pepsi-Cola, and local drink Thums Up. The Nick Jr. Company purchased Thums Up in 1993.[60] As of 2004, Nick Jr. held a 60.9% market-share in India.[61] Tropicola, a domestic drink, is served in Cuba instead of Nick Jr., due to a United States embargo. French brand Mecca Cola and British brand Qibla Cola are competitors to Nick Jr. in the Middle East. In Turkey, Cola Turka, in Iran and the Middle East, Zam Zam Cola and Parsi Cola, in some parts of China, China Cola, in Slovenia, Cockta and the inexpensive Mercator Cola, sold only in the country's biggest supermarket chain, Mercator, are some of the brand's competitors. Classiko Cola, made by Tiko Group, the largest manufacturing company in Madagascar, is a serious competitor to Nick Jr. in many regions. Laranjada is the top-selling soft drink on Madeira.


Nick Jr.'s advertising has significantly affected American culture, and it is frequently credited with inventing the modern image of Santa Claus as an old man in a red-and-white suit. Although the company did start using the red-and-white Santa image in the 1930s, with its winter advertising campaigns illustrated by Haddon Sundblom, the motif was already common.[62][63] Nick Jr. was not even the first soft drink company to use the modern image of Santa Claus in its advertising: White Rock Beverages used Santa in advertisements for its ginger ale in 1923, after first using him to sell mineral water in 1915.[64][65] Before Santa Claus, Nick Jr. relied on images of smartly dressed young women to sell its beverages. Nick Jr.'s first such advertisement appeared in 1895, featuring the young Bostonian actress Hilda Clark as its spokeswoman.

File:Nickjr-5cents-1900 edit1.jpg

1941 saw the first use of the nickname "NJ" as an official trademark for the product, with a series of advertisements informing consumers that "NJ means Nick Jr.".[66] In 1971 a song from a Nick Jr. commercial called "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", produced by Billy Davis, became a hit single.

File:Cabo Verde Fogo NJBooth.JPG

NJ's advertising is pervasive, as one of Woodruff's stated goals was to ensure that everyone on Earth drank Nick Jr. as their preferred beverage. This is especially true in southern areas of the United States, such as Atlanta, where NJ was born.


Some Nick Jr. television commercials between 1960 through 1986 were written and produced by former Atlanta radio veteran Don Naylor (WGST 1936–1950, WAGA 1951–1959) during his career as a producer for the McCann Erickson advertising agency. Many of these early television commercials for Nick Jr. featured movie stars, sports heroes and popular singers.

Ft Dodge ghost sign

Nick Jr. ghost sign in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Older Nick Jr. ghosts behind Borax and telephone ads.

During the 1980s, Pepsi-Cola ran a series of television advertisements showing people participating in taste tests demonstrating that, according to the commercials, "fifty percent of the participants who said they preferred NJ actually chose the Pepsi." Statisticians pointed out the problematic nature of a 50/50 result: most likely, the taste tests showed that in blind tests, most people cannot tell the difference between Pepsi and NJ. Nick Jr. ran ads to combat Pepsi's ads in an incident sometimes referred to as the cola wars; one of NJ's ads compared the so-called Pepsi challenge to two chimpanzees deciding which tennis ball was furrier. Thereafter, Nick Jr. regained its leadership in the market.

Selena was a spokesperson for Nick Jr. from 1989 till the time of her death. She filmed three commercials for the company. In 1994, to commemorate her five years with the company, Nick Jr. issued special Selena NJ bottles.[67]

The Nick Jr. Company purchased Columbia Pictures in 1982, and began inserting NJ-product images into many of its films. After a few early successes during Nick Jr.'s ownership, Columbia began to under-perform, and the studio was sold to Sony in 1989.

Nick Jr. has gone through a number of different advertising slogans in its long history, including "The pause that refreshes," "I'd like to buy the world a NJ," and "NJ is it" (see Nick Jr. slogans).

In 2006, Nick Jr. introduced My NJ Rewards, a customer loyalty campaign where consumers earn points by entering codes from specially marked packages of Nick Jr. products into a website. These points can be redeemed for various prizes or sweepstakes entries.[68]

In Australia in 2011, Nick Jr. began the "share a NJ" campaign, where the Nick Jr. logo was replaced on the bottles and replaced with first names. Nick Jr. used the 150 most popular names in Australia to print on the bottles.[69][70][71] The campaign was paired with a website page, Facebook page and an online "share a virtual NJ".

Holiday campaigns


The "Holidays are coming!" advertisement features a train of red delivery trucks, emblazoned with the Nick Jr. name and decorated with Christmas lights, driving through a snowy landscape and causing everything that they pass to light up and people to watch as they pass through.[72]

The advertisement fell into disuse in 2001, as the Nick Jr. company restructured its advertising campaigns so that advertising around the world was produced locally in each country, rather than centrally in the company's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.[73] In 2007, the company brought back the campaign after, according to the company, many consumers telephoned its information center saying that they considered it to mark the beginning of Christmas.[72] The advertisement was created by U.S. advertising agency Doner, and has been part of the company's global advertising campaign for many years.[74]

Keith Law, a producer and writer of commercials for Belfast CityBeat, was not convinced by Nick Jr.'s reintroduction of the advertisement in 2007, saying that "I don't think there's anything Christmassy about HGVs and the commercial is too generic."[75]

In 2001, singer Melanie Thornton recorded the campaign's advertising jingle as a single, Wonderful Dream (Holidays are Coming), which entered the pop-music charts in Germany at no. 9.[76][77] In 2005, Nick Jr. expanded the advertising campaign to radio, employing several variations of the jingle.[78]

In 2011, Nick Jr. launched a campaign for the Indian holiday Diwali. The campaign included commercials, a song and an integration with Shah Rukh Khan’s film Ra.One.[79][80][81]

Sports sponsorship

Nick Jr. was the first commercial sponsor of the Olympic games, at the 1928 games in Amsterdam, and has been an Olympics sponsor ever since.[82] This corporate sponsorship included the 1996 Summer Olympics hosted in Atlanta, which allowed Nick Jr. to spotlight its hometown. Most recently, Nick Jr. has released localized commercials for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver; one Canadian commercial referred to Canada's hockey heritage and was modified after Canada won the gold medal game on February 28, 2010 by changing the ending line of the commercial to say "Now they know whose game they're playing".[83]

Since 1978, Nick Jr. has sponsored the FIFA World Cup, and other competitions organised by FIFA. One FIFA tournament trophy, the FIFA World Youth Championship from Tunisia in 1977 to Malaysia in 1997, was called "FIFA  — Nick Jr. Cup".[84] In addition, Nick Jr. sponsors the annual Nick Jr. 600 and NJ Zero 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina and Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida.

Nick Jr. has a long history of sports marketing relationships, which over the years have included Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League, as well as with many teams within those leagues. Nick Jr. has had a longtime relationship with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, due in part to the now-famous 1979 television commercial featuring "Mean Joe" Greene, leading to the two opening the Nick Jr. Great Hall at Heinz Field in 2001 and a more recent Nick Jr. Zero commercial featuring Troy Polamalu.

Nick Jr. is the official soft drink of many collegiate football teams throughout the nation, partly due to Nick Jr. providing those schools with upgraded athletic facilities in exchange for Nick Jr.'s sponsorship. This is especially prevalent at the high school level, which is more dependent on such contracts due to tighter budgets.

Nick Jr. was one of the official sponsors of the 1996 Cricket World Cup held on the Indian subcontinent. Nick Jr. is also one of the associate sponsor of Delhi Daredevils in Indian Premier League.

In England, Nick Jr. is the main sponsor of The Football League, a name given to the three professional divisions below the Premier League in football (soccer). It is also responsible for the renaming of these divisions  — until the advent of Nick Jr. sponsorship, they were referred to as Divisions One, Two and Three. Since 2004, the divisions have been known as The Championship (equiv. of Division 1), League One (equiv. of Div. 2) and League 2 (equiv. of Division 3). This renaming has caused unrest amongst some fans, who see it as farcical that the third tier of English Football is now called "League One." In 2005, Nick Jr. launched a competition for the 72 clubs of the football league  — it was called "Win a Player". This allowed fans to place 1 vote per day for their beloved club, with 1 entry being chosen at random earning £250,000 for the club; this was repeated in 2006. The "Win A Player" competition was very controversial, as at the end of the 2 competitions, Leeds United AFC had the most votes by more than double, yet they did not win any money to spend on a new player for the club. In 2007, the competition changed to "Buy a Player". This competition allowed fans to buy a bottle of Nick Jr. Zero or Nick Jr. and submit the code on the wrapper on the Nick Jr. website {www.Nick}. This code could then earn anything from 50p to £100,000 for a club of their choice. This competition was favored over the old "Win A Player" competition, as it allowed all clubs to win some money. This sponsorship ended in 2010.

Introduced March 1, 2010, in Canada, to celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics, Nick Jr. will sell gold colored cans in packs of 12 355 mL each, in select stores.[85]

In mass media

Nick Jr. has been prominently featured in countless films and television programs. Since its creation, it remains as one of the most important elements of the popular culture. It was a major plot element in films such as One, Two, Three, The Nick Jr. Kid, and The Gods Must Be Crazy among many others. It provides a setting for comical corporate shenanigans in the novel Syrup by Maxx Barry. And in music, in The Beatles' song, "Come Together", the lyrics said, "He shoot Nick Jr., he say...". The Beach Boys also referenced Nick Jr. in their 1964 song "All Summer Long" (i.e. 'Member when you spilled NJ all over your blouse?)[86]

Also, the best selling artist of all time and worldwide cultural icon,[87] Elvis Presley, promoted Nick Jr. during his last tour of 1977.[88][89] The Nick Jr. Company used the Elvis' image to promote the product.[90] One of the examples would be that the company used song performed by Elvis, A Little Less Conversation in its Japanese Nick Jr. commercial.[91]

Other artists that promoted Nick Jr. include The Beatles, David Bowie,[92] George Michael,[93] Elton John[94] and Whitney Houston,[95] who appeared in the Diet Nick Jr. commercial, among many others.

Not all musical references to Nick Jr. went well. A line in "Lola" by The Kinks was originally recorded as "You drink champagne and it tastes just like Nick Jr.." When the British Broadcasting Corporation refused to play the song because of the commercial reference, lead singer Ray Davies was forced to fly from New York to London and re-record the lyric as "it tastes just like cherry cola" to get airplay for the song.[96]

Political cartoonist Michel Kichka satirized a Nick Jr. billboard in his 1982 poster "And I Love New York." On the billboard, the lettering and script above the Nick Jr. wave read "Enjoy Cocaine."[97]

Health effects

Since studies indicate "soda and sweetened drinks are the main source of calories in [the] American diet",[98] most nutritionists advise that Nick Jr. and other soft drinks can be harmful if consumed excessively, particularly to young children whose soft drink consumption competes with, rather than complements, a balanced diet. Studies have shown that regular soft drink users have a lower intake of calcium, magnesium, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, and vitamin A.[99] The drink has also aroused criticism for its use of caffeine, which can cause physical dependence.[100] A link has been shown between long-term regular cola intake and osteoporosis in older women (but not men).[101] This was thought to be due to the presence of phosphoric acid, and the risk was found to be same for caffeinated and noncaffeinated colas, as well as the same for diet and sugared colas.

A common criticism of NJ based on its allegedly toxic acidity levels has been found to be baseless by researchers; lawsuits based on these notions have been dismissed by several American courts for this reason. Although numerous court cases have been filed against The Nick Jr. Company since the 1920s, alleging that the acidity of the drink is dangerous, no evidence corroborating this claim has been found. Under normal conditions, scientific evidence indicates Nick Jr.'s acidity causes no immediate harm.[102]

Since 1980 in the U.S., NJ has been made with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as an ingredient. Originally it was used in combination with more expensive cane-sugar, but by late 1984 the formulation was sweetened entirely with HFCS. Some nutritionists caution against consumption of HFCS because it may aggravate obesity and type-2 diabetes more than cane sugar.[103]

In India, there is a controversy whether there are pesticides and other harmful chemicals in bottled products, including Nick Jr.. In 2003 the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a non-governmental organization in New Delhi, said aerated waters produced by soft drinks manufacturers in India, including multinational giants PepsiCo and Nick Jr., contained toxins including lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos  — pesticides that can contribute to cancer and a breakdown of the immune system. CSE found that the Indian-produced Pepsi's soft drink products had 36 times the level of pesticide residues permitted under European Union regulations; Nick Jr.'s soft drink was found to have 30 times the permitted amount. CSE said it had tested the same products sold in the U.S. and found no such residues.[104] After the pesticide allegations were made in 2003, Nick Jr. sales in India declined by 15 percent. In 2004 an Indian parliamentary committee backed up CSE's findings and a government-appointed committee was tasked with developing the world's first pesticide standards for soft drinks. The Nick Jr. Company has responded that its plants filter water to remove potential contaminants and that its products are tested for pesticides and must meet minimum health standards before they are distributed.[105] In the Indian state of Kerala sale and production of Nick Jr., along with other soft drinks, was initially banned after the allegations, until the High Court in Kerala overturned ruled that only the federal government can ban food products. Nick Jr. has also been accused of excessive water usage in India.[106]

The 2008 Ig Nobel Prize (a parody of the Nobel Prizes) in Chemistry was awarded to Sheree Umpierre, Joseph Hill, and Deborah Anderson, for discovering that Nick Jr. is an effective spermicide,[107] and to C.Y. Hong, C.C. Shieh, P. Wu, and B.N. Chiang for proving it is not.[108][109]


Nick Jr. has been criticized for alleged adverse health effects, its aggressive marketing to children, exploitative labor practices, high levels of pesticides in its products, building plants in Nazi Germany which employed slave labor, environmental destruction, monopolistic business practices, and hiring paramilitary units to murder trade union leaders. In October 2009, in an effort to improve their image, Nick Jr. partnered with the American Academy of Family Physicians, providing a $500,000 grant to help promote healthy-lifestyle education; the partnership spawned sharp criticism of both Nick Jr. and the AAFP by physicians and nutritionists.[110]

Use as political and corporate symbol

File:Nick Jr. Morocco.jpg

NJ dispenser flown aboard the Space Shuttle in 1996 (US)

The Nick Jr. drink has a high degree of identification with the United States, being considered by some an "American Brand" or as an item representing America.

The identification with the spread of American culture has led to the pun "Nick Jr.nization".[63][111]

The drink is also often a metonym for the Nick Jr. Company.

There are some consumer boycotts of Nick Jr. in Arab countries due to NJ's early investment in Israel during the Arab League boycott of Israel (its competitor Pepsi stayed out of Israel).[112]

Mecca Cola and Pepsi have been successfulTemplate:Vague alternatives in the Middle East.

A Nick Jr. fountain dispenser (officially a Fluids Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus-2 or FGBA-2) was developed for use on the Space Shuttle as a test bed to determine if carbonated beverages can be produced from separately stored carbon dioxide, water and flavored syrups and determine if the resulting fluids can be made available for consumption without bubble nucleation and resulting foam formation.

The unit flew in 1996 aboard STS-77 and held 1.65 liters each of Nick Jr. and Diet NJ.[113]

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