If you haven’t seen it on your grocer’s shelves, Pepsi has gone through possibly the largest rebrand of the past year. PepsiCo said it would be spending nearly $1.2 billion over the next three years on significant changes to every aspect of the brand. They will also be updating the Gatorade brand by creating a contemporary identity in which the entire line will be based on the “G” of Gatorade. In addition, Tropicana orange juice, also a PepsiCo product, has revamped their packaging line, but we will save that for another day.
The main concern of this article will be on the new Pepsi soda logos. If you haven’t seen the logos (Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Mountain Dew) they have undergone a complete renovation. They continue to use the red, white and blue palette of the previous logo, however, the white band has been formed into three different shapes (smiles) to represent the different sodas. When I read about these “smiles” in the report from AdAge.com, the first thing I thought after reading the article was “What smiles?” AdAge stated that a “smile” will characterize the brand Pepsi, while a “grin” is used for Diet Pepsi and a “laugh” is used for Pepsi Max. Even with knowledge of these “smiles”, I still struggle to see them within the marks.
Although the new logos are a detachment from the previous Pepsi logos we grew up with, I respect that Pepsi is pushing toward simplicity. I feel brands today need to move away from the gaudiness of the 90s and early 2000s. They need to gravitate towards an uncluttered, honest approach to their product which in turn will create brand loyalty. However, the minimalism of the new packaging almost seems effortless and uninspired. Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi Max are based on a series of gradients and a new typeface reminiscent of the seventies. The new elements seem cold and uninviting, instead of cold and delicious. On the other hand, the company has also rebranded Mountain Dew to Mtn. Dew. The new packaging houses a decent type treatment and an interesting illustration of mountains. The white space seems planned and intentional, leading to a successful package. However, the abbreviation seems slightly forced and unnecessary.
I remember as a child how a new logo of a product was so exciting for me simply because it was NEW. However, it now frustrates me to see so many companies pushing for new identities when the logo itself was not the problem. In my opinion, Pepsi could have done a simple redesign of their packaging without changing the logo with excellent results. Take Coca-Cola for example, who kept the classic “Coca-Cola” script, cleaned it up a bit, and created beautiful new packaging. It is rare to find a secure brand with a heritage these days, which is why so many are disappointed with this refresh. Nevertheless, I feel we will be seeing the old logo again once this trend passes.
By: Neil Ryan, designer