As consumer health awareness grows, companies are now more focused on trumpeting the health benefits their products bring to the table.
Last week, most of us woke up to the buzz of a new logo launched by Pepsi.
We have been told by Pepsi’s brand communicators that the move is a war on sugar.
But for boomers, this may not be entirely new despite being the first update to its iconic globe since 2008.
Pepsi has only updated its wordmark from white to bold black and placed it directly across the white stripe undulating between the red and blue waves at the centre of the patriotic yin-yang globe.
Yes, it’s that simple! But there is more to this.
Pepsi has been very smart to carry consumers along in what comes across as a way to visually and passionately voice its brand colours and wordmark to capture new markets.
It also suggests another brilliant way to reintroduce the concentrate-based soda drink to the social buzzers and the Gen-Y and Z due to their growing familiarity with and dependence on cola-flavoured carbonated soft drinks.
Coke flavour has accounted for more than 50 percent of the market because of the first-mover advantage.
It is also to re-announce its place in the soda market as a champion for health. A social responsibility all brands owe to their consumers
Why the black wordmark?
The black wordmark that outlines the globe ripples out from the logo, creating a vibrant contrast between the logo and the yin-yang globe and making sure that all other physical features on the drink are distinct and displayed in their best form. No wonder Pepsi’s ‘blue’ got richer along the way – now dubbed ‘electric blue’. (Fast Company)
I beg to differ with Todd Kaplan, CMO of Pepsi, when he is quoted as saying: “A lot of people don’t even notice the black is there”. I think the effect is much greater. The transition has been smooth to an extent; even when you are told the black is there, you will argue for the first few seconds and maybe request an old can to verify.
But the black is there, and it boldly stares at the consumer to communicate exactly what Todd said it communicates – “a master brand statement”.
This magic can be attributed to Pepsi’s logo evolution and its successive psychological play on brand colours to make imprints in the minds of consumers.
Everything that has been done for the new brand is deliberate to help the company, Pepsico, realize the billions of dollars in investment and divestment for the brand.
Sooner or later, the company may begin reaping the benefits.
The marketing strategy, this time, may shield Pepsi from what its number-one competitor faced when it launched its Zero Sugar.
Fans complained that the taste was not the same as the original. It was a tough time for the brand in trying to get into the minds of consumers so that millions could appreciate the taste of its zero sugar.
There is no doubt that Pepsi has always sought to be the brand that reflects the times and the dreams of the next generation of consumers — one that people can carry along their journey in search of something irresistible, yet healthy.
Kaplan isn’t wrong.
“Pepsi logo redesigns do tend to capture the essence of their era’s cultural zeitgeist.” 1998 embraced the glitzy, gaudy optimism of Y2K. 2008 embraced the flat, muted colours beloved by millennials. And now, 2023 brings us the full onslaught of whatever the Internet has transformed culture into today: a bold, digital animation that mixes graphics and photography.
Pepsi’s new brand system is indeed a masterpiece.
With new direct-to-consumer brands creeping into the mainstream soda drink market and socially utilising all strategies to remain relevant, classic soft drink brands, like Pepsi, had to take steps to explore opportunities, keep up strengths, and bubble to the top.
The new brand identity can work very well at igniting moment-to-moment conversations on Twitter.
Its stunning and animated visual identity can be a great piece to dominate Instagram and TikTok, as Facebook and LinkedIn can be used to sell logo variations, visual identities, and storytelling.
What PR and marketing strategies has Pepsi deployed?
- It reignited its brand as a lifestyle brand, just as it did when non-alcoholic drinks saturated the market some 20 years ago, going very strong on its zero sugar.
In the coming days, we should see Pepsi come up with an actionable hashtag for endless user-generated content, an endless stream of high-quality photos and fresh animations depicting the usage of the new logo.
The writer is a social media and public relations expert, a brand strategist, and a leading voice in Africa’s creative industry.
Daniel is currently the President of Inkniche Global Ghana, a public relations and social media agency.