Much has been made of PepsiCo’s branding remakes this year. The Tropicana orange juice rebrand was widely panned, forcing the brand to go reverse course and go back to what didn’t seem to be broken after sales plunged. Along with consumers, designers weren’t crazy about it either.
The Gatorade rebranding (to G) seems to have received mixed reviews. Personally I think it’s ok, but there are now so many variants of G that it’s hard to know which one to drink when. When, exactly, am I supposed to drink Be Tough and when am I supposed to drink Shine On? At this point, they are all interchangeable to me so I just buy whatever’s on sale.
Any then of course, there is the mothership: Pepsi. While it has always played second fiddle to Coca-Cola, both cultural and via sales, there is no denying it is an iconic American brand. I’m not really a cola drinker, so I’ve always viewed the “cola wars” as a detached observer. But what Coke has done well is maintain brand consistency. That script font, contour bottle and dynamic ribbon are as famous as the secret formula.
The Pepsi redesign has been well documented (and the redesign documents have been well documented). Ok, so you decide to make a change. Not my choice, but fine, that’s your call. But what I can’t figure out is this: Right now if you are out looking for a Pepsi, you may find one that looks like this:
Or like this:
Yep, just a couple of months after launching a new logo, now I hear radio commercials for Pepsi Throwback. The ads are read by a voice actor do an imitation of Wolfman Jack. Ask most people what Pepsi’s most famous tagline is (and most likely the one they still remember) and they’ll say, “The choice of a new generation.” That was a great tagline and represented the highpoint of Pepsi’s marketing when they were taking to Coke with their taste tests. But who is Pepsi Throwback targeted at? I turn 39 this week and Wolfman Jack is a little before my time.