Originating in Germany as Fanta Klare Zitrone ("Clear Lemon Fanta"), Sprite was introduced to the United States in 1961 to compete against 7-Up. In the 1980's, many years after Sprite's introduction, Coke pressured its large bottlers that distributed 7 Up to replace the competitor with the Coca-Cola product. In large part due to the strength of the Coca-Cola system of bottlers, Sprite finally became the market leader position in the lemon-lime soda category in 1989.
Sprite, as a lemon-lime soda, is referred to by consumers around the world in a variety of ways. It is called lemonade in Australia and New Zealand. In Ireland and Canada, Sprite and 7-up are interchangeable and, when asked, a person may say Sprite or 7-up to mean the same drink. In South Africa, Sprite and Schweppes Lemonade are almost interchangeable. In some parts of Switzerland, Sprite (or any other type of lemonade) is also known simply as citro.
Over the years, Sprite advertising has used the portmanteau word "lymon," combining the words "lemon" and "lime," to describe the flavor of the drink. Recently, Sprite commercials have begun utilizing very quick and rapid way of presentation, also known as subliminal advertising.This method has been dubbed "sublymonal" in the commercials. These advertisements were launched in conjunction with the soda's logo being redesigned. In 2004, Coke created Miles Thirst, a vinyl doll voiced by Reno Wilson, used in advertising to exploit the growing hip-hop market for soft drinks. In June 2006 the new Sprite logo began to make its debut on Sprite bottles and cans. The "Sublymonal" campaign was also used as part of the alternate reality game, The Lost Experience. In 2000, Sprite commissioned graffiti artist, Temper to design a limited edition can which saw the design on 100 million cans across Europe.
In the 1990s, one of Sprite's longest-running ad campaigns was "Grant Hill Drinks Sprite" (overlapping its "Obey Your Thirst" campaign), in which the well-liked basketball player's abilities, and Sprite's importance in giving him his abilities, were humorously exaggerated.
Also in the 1990s, Sprite launched the short-lived but memorable "Jooky" ad campaign. The 30-second television spots poked fun at other soft drinks' perceived lack of authenticity, ridiculous loyalty programs and, in particular, the grandiose, bandwagon-driven style of advertising popular among other soft drink manufacturers, notably Pepsi. The tagline for these spots was "Image is nothing. Thirst is everything - Obey your thirst."