It was hard to ignore the recent furor over the newly public creative brief for the Pepsi logo. Like so many others, I enjoyed the guilty pleasure of viewing a supposedly top secret document and wallowing in the mostly scathing comments that followed.
For the record, I have some issues with the new logo, mostly to do with the variations on the “grin”.
- If you have to tell people it’s a grin, then the design doesn’t speak for itself
- What do the varying grins mean? If I pick a beverage that has a smaller grin what does that say about me and the potential for pleasure in drinking it?
The leaked document about Pepsi and its gravitational field certainly does take your breath away. If it was meant as a creative brief, then it deserves all the opprobrium that has been heaped on it. My guess is that this deck was created as the ultimate presentation to justify the new logo. That’s a slightly different matter. I don’t know Peter Arnell, but if he is the mesmerizing pitchman that he is said to be, he is probably capable of bringing self-indulgent, fantastical, overwrought prose and illustrations to life. I once saw a gifted creative director use the Fibonacci code and chaos theory to explain a proposed visual language and it was thrilling to see.
As a creative brief for an advertising campaign it’s garbage.
My own theory is that Arnell was charged with creating a clean slate for the Pepsi products and reinventing them in a fresh and attention-grabbing way. That’s not the same thing as being hired to come up with a new advertising campaign, although you can bet that the huge campaign was the ultimate prize for the agency.
So forget the logo and the advertising for a minute and just look at the pack itself, before and after:
Here’s the new prototype:
The new pack is a big improvement, but the word Pepsi and the product descriptor are less prominent than the logo. If the size of the grin is supposed to clue in the consumer about the type of Pepsi, well good luck. Compare it to Coca Cola packaging, which cleaned up its own pack, but in an elegant way that retained the traditional logo and minimized costs.
At the end of the day, was the old Pepsi logo so broken that it justified the hundreds of millions spent to change signage, trade dress, etc.? I don’t really think so, but that is between the agency and the client.