JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- A long-time Pepsi billboard in Johnson City is getting a major makeover.
If you frequently drive on I-26 at the Roan Street exit heading toward downtown Johnson City you may have noticed a Pepsi billboard that reads “Pepsi Tops In East Tennessee.”
News Channel 11’s Justin Soto found out Friday that billboard will now feature a Mountain Dew bottle and read “The Tennessee Original – Since 1940.”
Pepsi is still advertising on the Lamar billboard but is changing the branding for the first time in decades.
Officials at Lamar Advertising said the Pepsi billboard has been there since at least 1981.
A Tennessee historical marker recognizes Johnson City as the home of Mountain Dew.
2020 marks 80 years since its creation.
Lamar Advertising – which owns the billboard – said Pepsi made the call to change the drink on the historic ad.
“Recognizing their anniversary coming up with this being the birthplace of Mountain Dew,” Lamar Advertising Sales Manager Molly Overton said.
Tri-Cities residents we spoke to said the old sign means home.
“I just love the old sign and I love tradition. It’s been a tradition here for many years, and I really hate to see it go,” Joy Williams said.
Bradley Norris also hates to see the sign go, but can see the positives.
“I think it’d would kind of be like a symbol of the new generation of people from the Tri-Cities. It’d be something my kids and my grandkids whenever they’re coming down 26 and they’ll see the Mountain Dew sign and say we’re home,” Norris said.
Lamar Advertising hopes our community will love the new sign as much as they do.
“I’m sorry if it makes anyone sad that it’s coming down, but it’s exciting, and it’s going to be beautiful. I think people are going to love it once they see it up there,” Overton said.
Lamar Advertising tells us this sign isn’t the completed look. They will unveil embellishments to the new Mountain Dew sign in the next few weeks.