Archive for March, 2009

Pepsi vs. Coke

Uncategorizedon March 6th, 20096 Comments

Just recently, Pepsi came out with a new logo. This is no small event when you are talking about a brand as big and global as Pepsi. Here is the old logo:


Yes, in need of a lot of help. Completely over developed. There isn’t an angle that wasn’t highlighted or drop shadowed. So, definitely in need of some clean-up…

Now, here’s the new one:



THIS they should have never done. Is it supposed to be a smile? Or a large belly hanging out from underneath a red shirt? I’m not seeing the meaning behind the white negative space at all. The can design on it’s own is nice. Simple and clean. But the mark? The arc of the curves that define the negative space look too abrupt, forced and amateurish. 

Now, let’s contrast it with the excellent work on the redesigned Coke packaging:



They nailed it! This is EXACTLY what you do with an iconic brand. You get out of the way! You clean it up and simplify so that the brands unique visual cues stand out. Especially a global and historical brand that has so many wonderful unique brand flourishes (such as the script word mark, the “ribbon”, the red and white color palette and the hourglass bottle) The only thing wrong with the old can was that it had become OVER designed. The agency that did this – Turner Duckworth (one of my all-time favorites) – had the confidence to tell Coke that what it needed was not more or different, but less. The folks at Turner Duckworth must be having a huge laugh over this one. 

They took it a step farther with the other materials. Using simple silhouettes of the iconic bottle they created powerful visual reminders of the history of Coca Cola. It’s our history too. With a touch of whimsy. Here’s one:


Prior to the arrival of these two re-designs, I’ve used Coke and Pepsi in my presentations as examples of simplicity in creating an iconic and distinctive brand. My argument has been that a 2 color brand palette is stronger than a 3 color palette. Why? Well, for one the simplicity makes it more powerful. Coke is red and white. Pepsi is red, blue and white. Pepsi has too many colors! It’s too much like the american flag. Yet, the irony is that Coke is more “American” despite using red which has historically been associated with communism.

I would even ask myself “Dude, what would you do to improve the Pepsi visual brand?” My answer: I think it would be interesting to get rid of the red and just use blue and white. Blue is more strongly associated with Pepsi. Probably because it’s the differentiating color from Coke. Imagine what it would look like to go back and revisit some of the old design cues from Pepsi’s past and bring them back with a modern flair. But with blue and white. Worth looking at? I don’t know. Maybe blue is too sedate and lacks the power of red? I think there might be something there. Or maybe it’s a matter of how the colors are balanced? It would undoubtedly be a tough sell at Pepsi. 

Whatever they do they need more swagger. Cokes new direction shown above makes them look confident. They like who they are and are comfortable in their own skin. Pepsi looks insecure with this new look. They have always been a bit schizophrenic with the brand look. Changing things up every decade or so. This new logo just reinforces that perception.

My 2 cents. ;-)