Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blowing up Pepsi.

Read from Businessweek, April 27th 2009 issue:

D'Amore (CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages) informally called his undertaking The Big Bang. It was an apt metaphor. He was proposing not just devising new ads and slogans for the seven separate brands but redesigning 1,121 different bottles, cans, and other packages. And he wanted to have the reconceived products on store shelves in seven months (?!) to coincide with the 2009 Super Bowl, when PepsiCo was planning to unveil several new commercials.

Never had the company attempted to overhaul so many products so quickly. The danger was clear: In January consumers would walk into supermarkets and find that nearly all of their favourite PepsiCo beverages looked dramatically different - and they might hate the changes. What's more d'Amore's team wouldn't have time for the exhaustive market research that usually helps mitigate such risks.


He explained how his smooth new circle, which would replace the 3D look of the old logo with simple matte colors, mimicked the minimalist lines of Apple's music-and-video player. The logo's upturned curves, he said, were like emoticons: Diet Pepsi was a 'grin', Pepsi was a 'smile', Pepsi Max a 'laugh'.

***end of excerpt***

(Non-italics mine)

Originality is officially dead. For a multi-billion dollar company like Pepsi to 'mimic' another brand giant is no sense to me. And whatever that's planned and done looks like a hell of a risk to me. Shouldn't they try to look for the insights behind the iPod phenomenon to understand what makes the new generation tick, instead of 'borrowing' design cues from something which the world thinks it's cool!? A lot of brands can do that. But honestly, I would expect much more from a brand like Pepsi? It's like BMW wanting to be... Louis Vuitton (?!).


Anyway, I thought you may be interested in Peter Arnell's (D'Amore's appointed branding guru for this revamping exercise) pitch presentation for the rebranding of Pepsi. Dubbed 'Breathtaking', it looks more like a science paper to me. Yes, while I think it's cool to design a 'trick' logo with multiple viewpoints (that's a real first and real daring) but it also allows a huuuuuuuge room for distortion possibility and 'mis-recognition', no? Take a look:

Uh. Bottle's okay. Design's okay. But having not one but multiple 'sub-faces' of a logo? Yes, it is innovative and really pushing the envelope. But I guess we'll just have to wait for the real verdict and see how the consumers like their new Pepsi. Well at least, they left the formula untouched (lesson well-learned from their archrival perhaps).


  1. reading that presentation just disheartened me. all that effort to push yet another brandimage.
    for once i would like to have a soda with the right temperature, guaranteed. hows that for consumer confidence.

  2. That's an advertising for refrigerators ;)