Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Pepsi logo and font: What went wrong

If you confuse the the new Pepsi logo and packaging with a store brand, it's understandable.

It is an ambitious effort to re-brand a line of products such as this, but perhaps PepsiCo over-thought the effort. Nike has brilliantly made its symbol synonymous with its corporate name, but I don't foresee this happening with Pepsi. The company should revisit the brand and start with the typography, and hope that the consumer smiles when they say "Pepsi," instead of trying to own the smile and hoping that the consumer thinks of Pepsi when they smile.

The new Pepsi brand has the look of and creates the perception of a store brand, and here's why:

The visual symbol: The familiar red and blue circle has been replaced by a mark that seems inspired by animé or aerospace. Under Consideration compares them side-by-side, with quotes from Ad Age and BVNet:
"The brand's blue and red globe trademark will become a series of "smiles," with the central white band arcing at different angles depending on the product."
While the intent may have been sincere, it's poorly executed (what consumer is going to notice that each brand has a different angle?) Perhaps each bottle will soon include a legend to let the consumer know what the smile means. Perhaps the last three years of election cycle rubbed off on the brand as well, with its similarity to the Obama campaign logo.

The typography: The Pepsi logo, set in lower case, alludes to vintage typography (disco anyone?) while trying to be modern. Stem and stroke weights differ, and joins bloat. This lettering was possible accomplished with a Rapid-o-graph pen, straight edge and circle template. It reflects years of amateur-looking type design in the packaging and advertising industry, and reminds me of type downloaded from a free font site.

The color palette: Eeeeew. It's not friendly, it makes me wonder if I'd actually enjoying drinking what's in the bottle. It's depressing. The entire dark palette of colors on the packaging seems to infer that PepsiCo is taking itself much too seriously.

The packaging: some of the comments at Under Consideration suggest that the new small bottles have similarities to, well, other objects. While the design of two-liter bottles (show here) don't change much, the wrapper combines all of the shortcomings of symbol, color and typography into a tired-looking design.

Who's thirsty? ;-)


Anonymous said...

It looks even more like an obama logo than ever before. That couldn't have been an accident.

Pepsi marketeers should know better than to alienate close to half of the voting population, but then like the major media, they probably just don't care. I'm voting against them by steering away from their brands.

Dear comrade pepsico, not everyone admires communism and socialism.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you completely. I absolutly love the new design. It's simplistic and very appealing at the same time. I actually stopped drinking pepsi vanilla and started buying the regular pepsi just for the new cans. :-P

JUdas said...

I think the font is better than the previous one... ilike the "futuristic minimal" image they are now pulling... i would like to see a new concept made by you... post it here... and lets see what can u do...

Anonymous said...

I believe you are wrong entirely. The new look gives me a feel of rave.The very cool stylish and simple look also makes it look more organized which intrigues me. Though you obviously think it should have not changed i think the old logo was getting a bit corny and boring and welcome the new change.

Plus you have to think about the marketing, remember when coke changed the bottle shape, everyone wanted to be the first to get the new type of bottle. The changes create a great amount of income that pepsi probably wanted in this economy.