Friday, October 31, 2008

A series of smiles for Pepsi new look

October 20, 2008: a sudden face-lift for what is famed to be "the choice of a new generation."
Pepsi has recently rolled out a brand new fresh campaign--not so fresh though, as sameness seems to be the name of the game; repeating itself endlessly appears as a safe step, certain to maintain Pepsi’s brand visibility in today’s massively turbulent culture.
For the record, Pepsi's third-quarter profit was dragged down by weak U.S. sales, and fell short of a Wall Street earnings estimate for the first time since 1999.
A downfall, which could explain why Pepsi has announced that they are undergoing a drastic relaunching of their branding and packaging to bring "new life" to their flagship brands, with a new logo that is supposed to represent more than one smile.

Pepsi’s Chief Marketing Officer Dave Burwick set the tone for the change at a meeting of Pepsi bottlers when he said If we don’t change quickly, we run the risk of being a footnote to history,” according to Beverage Digest.

However, such a move appears a bit awkward for one of the world's most famous brands, as it is understood that change should be combined with a fundamental repositioning. In this re-brand operation, no sign of repositioning whatsoever.
But an all new brand communication strategy.
The company has chosen to jump on the cyber bandwagon, embrace new social media and start engaging with consumers; Pepsi intends, through this experiment- a Flickr album, a Friendfeed account, soon a Twitter profile-- to bring consumers "behind the scenes through technology and conversation.”
The production, marketing and delivery strategy have indeed, all been refined down to the highest efficiencies and profitability.

“Pepsi, reached out to 25 ‘digital and social media influencers’ with three separately-shipped packages. The first contained five cans representing logo design from 1898 to 1950. The second contained five cans representing logo design from 1962 to 1998. The third contained (yes, you guessed it) the newly launched can design - six of them full of actual Pepsi. Accompanying the final shipment was a DVD highlights of the company’s 110 year history including the debut of the new logo and packaging across all product lines. You can watch the video here.”
Quoted from adrants.

Of course, it's surprising to see a company like Pepsi engage in this way. “We’re changing the way we do things and want to have you along for the ride,” reads 'The Pepsi Cooler' page on Friendfeed, where contributors/social media experts include Bart Casabona, Bonin Bough and Josh Karpf and Steve Rubel from Edelman, the PR Company in charge of Pepsi’s communication and image.
“I am working with Pepsi as part of my job with Edelman Digital. We are thrilled to be assisting with this endeavour. In the future, PR agencies will need to step from behind the scenes and openly participate in social media with clients when appropriate,"
notes Steve Rubel on The Pepsi Cooler page.

According to new school marketing, a brand must meet change with change. In order to help spreading the word about the re-branding and shape Pepsi’s social media future, the tools adopted speak highly and loudly about a wind of change. Having more engagement from Pepsi is a great idea and is obviously part of the new strategy. Pepsi has decided to change in regards to its relationships with consumers; it has decided to stream with dynamism to stay in touch with dynamism and change in the making. But is changing logo and opening up a conversation all what Pepsi has in mind? The Pepsi new experiment will be fun to watch…

As for the new look, it is characterized by stillness and consistency: the cans retain some similar design elements ... all are still blue and have the familiar Pepsi globe logo; nonetheless, the new can design is as minimalist as it can get, with low caps writing --(
Lower-case seems to be hot nowadays)-- of the name for Pepsi, Diet Pepsi & Pepsi Max, [Mountain Dew got renamed Mtn Dew & Gatorade received a redesign, focusing the brand on the letter G.]; and that globe-logo looks like a cloned icon of the Democrat party, an Obama emblem more than the ‘oh so familiar’ Pepsi tag.
Actually, the brand's blue and red globe trademark became a series of "smiles," with the central white band arcing at different angles depending on the product.

One more interrogation remains? Are people that brand loyal to cola anymore? Will a change of logo increase the fan club size?

According to marketing guru Seth Godin, “at the end of the day a brand logo is just that -- a logo. If you want to promote the logo and make it a part of the cultural conversation: 1) think about meaningful connections and impacts, 2) determine how people can people get involved online/offline 3) make it about them - not why.”

Hopefully, all this branding ballet isn’t a total waste of money, and Pepsi is up to something --worth the bucks. Aside from PepsiCo Inc.’s acknowledged intention and plans to spend $1 billion in China over the next four years, as the troubled economy cuts into sales and profit in the U.S.


The Pepsi logo, one of the most recognised ever, has changed many times over the years. Here's a chronological history of the various logos.

Click for More on Pepsi's many logo variations

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