New York CNN
What would you draw if someone asked you to draw the Pepsi Logo from memory? Perhaps a circle with the iconic red, white, and blue stripes. In that globe, you'll probably see the word "Pepsi" in it.
PepsiCo sometimes guides people through the exercise by asking them to put 'Pepsi in the circle'. The current logo looks different. The brand name appears off to one side, looking a little meek in comparison to the iconic globe. Pepsi has made a change.
Mauro Porcini is the chief design officer at PepsiCo. He told CNN that he couldn't ignore this kind of insight. Instead of rejecting the idea, we decided that it was something to be embraced.
Pepsi unveiled its new logo on Tuesday. The branding will be rolled out across North America in the fall, and internationally next year. The logo is similar to the one from the 1990s, which has stuck in many people's minds, but it now includes new elements, such as a font, font color, and border, to make it look more modern. These changes were made to not only better match people's memories, but also to bring attention to Pepsi Zero Sugar line - a crucial part of the growth plan for the company.
"Bold and confident"
Pepsi is 125 years old and has updated its branding on a regular basis. The current visual identity dates back to 2008. In the years that have passed since its first appearance, it has become a little stale.
Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s chief marketing executive, noted that the 'Pepsi" in the logo is 'decoupled from a globe'. It's the lowercase, italicized typeface, and the blue is muted. It doesn't exude the confidence and energy the brand represents.
Kaplan stated that Pepsi is a 'bold and confident brand', one that represents 'unapologetic pleasure'. The current logo with the lowercase 'pepsi,' shyly separating that relaxed globe? Not very confident, not very bold.
It's the new logo with the uppercase, punchy 'PEPSI,' in the center of the circle. The white stripe, which undulates between the waves of red and blue, looks better.
Tim Calkins, marketing professor at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, said that it's common for companies to change their look in order to remain relevant. They must be cautious not to upset customers or confuse them with major changes. He cited the Tropicana debacle to illustrate his point. Tropicana's carton design was so dramatically altered in 2009 that it outraged consumers. Tropicana was owned by PepsiCo at the time and changed its logo within a couple of months.
Calkins stated that 'brands with a long-standing history can always look backwards'. It can be very powerful to use nostalgic images. He said that companies must be cautious to ensure the legacy branding is fresh.
Pepsi claims that its changes are unique enough to make a difference, and they highlight modern elements such as Pepsi’s zero-sugar product line.
Zero is the hero
PepsiCo, like other soft drink companies, has been focusing in recent years on zero-sugar brands and products as the consumer's interest in full sugar sodas flags.
Ramon Laguarta, CEO of PepsiCo, said that Zero will be at the core of Pepsi's strategy in the US during an analyst call held in February. Pepsi made changes to the recipe for its zero-sugar drink earlier this year. The product was advertised in a Super Bowl ad.
We think the non-sugar cola segment will continue to grow rapidly in this country. Laguarta noted that consumers are pivoting. Zero was already a "strategic" product in Europe.
Porcini, speaking to CNN, said that 'zero-sugar is going be the protagonist in our communication strategy'.
The new logo features a black font with a border to highlight the zero line. This is a reference to the black label and can of Pepsi.
The border helps to make the logo the center of the new company pulse campaign. Lines radiate out from the pulsing Logo in time with the upbeat music used in video ads, and elsewhere.
Even small changes can cause a stir with consumers, so the team approached this update with caution.
Kaplan said that the process has been iterative over the past few years. We think it's an excellent way to keep [Pepsi] familiarity, but also to project into the future.