Pepsi's New Bottle Won't Reinvigorate its Brand
March 25, 2013 ‐ 1 comment

Yes, this is really an actual quote from the Pepsi press release about their first bottle redesign in 16 years.

"The etched, grip-able bottom allows consumers to have a more stimulating, tactile interaction with the bottle itself."

And yes, we were tempted to end this post there and let Pepsi speak for itself. But soldier on we shall, dear readers, and attempt to learn something other than Pepsi's penchant for prurient PR.

A new bottle design doesn't reinvigorate a brand, just as a new logo or a new tagline or even a new name doesn't reinvigorate a brand. (Remember Xe anyone?) Yes, it helps. Yes, a new logo or a new tagline can signal that something is changing. Yes, cola-drinkers might associate Pepsi's desired brand attributes, such as a 'youthful spirit', more closely with a swirly grooved cylinder than with a silky smooth one.

But that's not enough.

To reinvigorate a brand, all of the touchpoints have to change. In the case of Pepsi, that means POS, packaging, ads, website and their limitless social media efforts. That's the only way to change how customers perceive your brand—through a wholesale shift in all of the ways you interact with them. Pepsi does plan to roll this change out through additional elements, but it's unclear when or which elements. Which, to our minds, is a lost opportunity.

And even if they had decided to make more far-reaching changes all at once—is 'youthful spirit' really what consumers want when they're deciding what cola to buy or order? Maybe, but Pepsi's been banging on about the Pepsi Generation since 1964, and they've never sold more cola than Coke. (Yes, we're focusing on Cola—we're aware that PepsiCo has at times been bigger and more profitable than The Coca Cola Company).

We first became aware of this exciting turn of events via a post on Brandchannel titled: "The Shape of Things to Come: Pepsi's New Bottle Design Reinvigorates Brand." Brandchannel's bloggers and editors should know better.

And Pepsi's PR team should be more careful with the salacious content of their releases. Although, given that the brand positioning is called Excitement Now, perhaps they're squarely on-brand after all.

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Jennifer Larsen Morrow
April 23, 2013 3:44 pm
Couldn't agree more ... the bottle is still the container which is just one tiny part of the brand interaction. And wow ... the Pepsi language? Thanks for sharing. I sometimes wonder where all of those college graduates go that have been trained to use big words without saying anything useful.

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