Pepsi is redesigning its 16 and 20-ounce bottles for the first time since 1977 — one in a series of recent moves (see: the recent Super Bowl halftime show sponsorship and related landmark partnership with superstar Beyonce) as PepsiCo attempts to revitalize its flagship brand after a few mis-steps that led to the brand losing market share to rival Coca-Cola’s Diet Coke brand in 2011.
The new design features a swirled grip on the bottom portion of the bottle, a shorter label edged in a “cola-colored” border and an enlarged version of its current globe logo and applies to Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max and Pepsi Next.
“This new bottle is the next milestone in Pepsi’s Live For Now marketing campaign,” stated Angelique Krembs, VP of marketing for the Pepsi trademark. “Our single serve bottle is the most visible and tangible connection point we have with our consumers, and we love how the new bottle expresses our brand DNA.”
“We started with single serve, because it is the package you’re seen drinking and holding,” Krembs told Ad Age. “The longer-term view is this new design system would eventually hit all touch points beyond packaging, to be honest, but certainly all other package types, as it applies.”
According to PepsiCo’s press release, “The new bottle’s bold swirl and elevated profile reflect the brand’s attributes and youthful spirit, capturing the excitement of now for Pepsi consumers. The etched, grip-able bottom allows consumers to have a more stimulating, tactile interaction with the bottle itself.”[more]
What’s more, PepsiCo added, “A new, 12-ounce glass bottle will also be offered as a premium package in select stores. The new bottle is the first iteration of the redesign of the full portfolio currently underway under the stewardship of PepsiCo’s Chief Design Officer Mauro Porcini, with additional elements to be rolled out throughout the year.”
The new bottle bottom makes it easier to hold and the label covers less of the contents, showing more of the actual beverage. “These don’t sound like significant changes, but the company thinks the tweaks will make an impact,” notes The Examiner. The new bottles will hit stores in the New York area first followed by launches to Chicago, California and Florida by the end of the year.
In 2008 when Pepsi introduced the globe logo and updated packaging, the “move highlighted for many one of the key differences between Pepsi and rival Coke: Coke’s logo has undergone changes in its 126 years, but the cola giant has largely stuck to its brand equities: the color red and a scripted font. By contrast, little has been sacred at Pepsi,” notes Ad Age.
“We didn’t want to create a shape that came out of nowhere,” Krembs told Ad Age. “It’s not uniform, it’s a little asymmetrical, there’s a little edginess and playfulness, which is consistent with Pepsi’s equities and youthful spirit.” The design change, she added, began more than a year ago when the brand introduced its “Capturing the excitement of now” mantra.
Even though Pepsi’s current logo “won’t change,” as Ad Age notes,
“the way it is seen will be far from static. It could be magnified, reshaped or only partially seen, but the visual cues will make it unmistakably identifiable as Pepsi. For example, its equity of red and blue divided by white could be creatively adapted — imagine a guitar or the Statue of Liberty swathed in red, white and blue, mimicking the logo. Brad Jakeman, president-global beverages group, has touted the idea of ‘strategic variance,’ citing MTV, Starbucks and Google as brands that regularly fiddle with their logo size, design and color.”
The new bottle shape — a swirled grip on the bottom portion of its 16- and 20-ounce bottle, with a shorter label edged in a “cola-colored” border and an enlarged version of the globe logo — is a standard design Pepsi hopes to build on, just as Coca-Cola has long done with its classic contour-shape bottle. A 12-ounce glass bottle, which will be available in select retailers, features the same twisted shape as well as the globe logo ringed in a thick silver line.
To help define Pepsi’s aesthetic, design guru and 3M alum Mauro Porcini was tapped as PepsiCo’s first chief design officer last June. Krembs expects that half of America will be converted to the new package and feature new designs by year’s end, and encompass in-store marketing, trucks, coolers and other purchase points.
One thing the new bottle won’t tap into is the company’s pledge on environmental sustainability, with no apparent plan to incorporate more environmentally friendly materials such as PepsiCo’s plant-based PET bottle technology, the industry’s first, which the company has used for other brands including its Aquafina line of bottled waters.
In another move related to its “Excitement of Now” positioning, Pepsi recently introduced pop culture-based rewards program, Pepsi Experience Points (PXP), at the 2013 SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. “Its not just about rewarding transactions, it’s about incentivizing and rewarding engagements across everything in the Pepsi Music experience,” commented Shiv Singh, global head of digital for PepsiCo Beverages, to Billboard.
Fans collect points through Pepsi purchases and social media interactions and win prizes, apparel and tickets to see Beyonce’s Pepsi-sponsored Mrs. Carter World Tour. PXP has partnered with social music video mobile app SongBooth, enabling vocal aspirants to record and share their original music. The Pepsi SongBooth app for Apple’s iOS platform has 1.3 million registered users since launching in December.
“SongBooth helps us continue the conversation we’re having around music, from our big activation with Beyonce at the Super Bowl to the Grammys to working with a few of the artists that we’re building for the rest of the year,” said Javier Farfan, senior director of cultural branding for PepsiCo, to Billboard.
These moves come at a critical time for PepsiCo, which is under internal and external pressure to regain marketshare from Coca-Cola. “Despite PepsiCo’s stepped up efforts, its beverage volume in North America declined by 4 percent last year,” notes the Huffingon Post. “That included a 4 percent decline in carbonated soft drinks and a 3 percent decline in non-carbonated drinks.”