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Meaning Of The Phrase "pepsi Challenge"

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It seems to me like debaters misuse the phrase "Pepsi Challenge" to mean something like "Do you have a card/line in your card that substantiates X claim" or, alternately, as something like a "gut check." However, I'm not sure where in the lineage of the the term that meaning arose.


The original use of the phrase was, obviously, a test to see which soda you liked more, but that has nothing to do with debate. I believe, then, that it was the second part of the test that was being referenced, i.e. where the test was redone with the labels left on and people preferred Coke, even though they preferred Pepsi in a blind taste test. So, "to take the Pepsi Challenge" would mean "to prove why you drink Coke even though you actually prefer Pepsi." Thus, I think that when the term entered the debate lexicon, it originally meant "can you prove why your (method/way of thinking/version of impact calc) is intrinsically better."


However, this is nothing but fanciful conjecture, and I'd like to get some other theories. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding how the current version of it is used in debate, and it actually makes perfect sense. As it is, it just seems too far removed from the original meaning of the term "Pepsi Challenge" to have any basis in it.

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Both of those theories are incorrect. To call the "pepsi challenge" was once a literal term. It was similar to an ethics challenge. The debate was paused and 2 cups of soda were brought out in which the team being challenged had to correctly identify which cup had pepsi, and which had coke. Though the evidence has long since been buried, this was a stunt promotion by Pepsi in which they would pay the hoster of a tournament to add this rule to tournament invitations.


Of course, the rule was banned after teams started lacing their soda with whiskey and/or semen to trick the other team.

I literally woke up my roommate from laughing. This is the best thing I've read all week, props.

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