Pepsi CMO Todd Kaplan on its new logo: ‘Projects like this don’t happen overnight’
Last week, Pepsi unveiled its first new logo in 14 years. We catch up with the cola company’s chief marketing officer, Todd Kaplan, to talk about its history, rebrand and future.
Pepsi's latest logo, introduced in late March / Credit: PepsiCo
A week ago, Pepsi introduced a new logo to honor its 125th anniversary. The refreshed mark puts the word ’Pepsi’ in all capital letters, in the center of its iconic ’globe’. The new globe’s red, blue and white waves appear more straight, when compared with the previous iteration that displayed the brand name in all lowercase letters just outside of it.
By and large, people seem to enjoy the fresh look. Food&Wine’s Adam Campbell-Schmitt wrote that it “finally looks normal again.“
Amanda Bowers Wong, creative director at Siegel+Gale, meanwhile shared her thoughts on the redesign with The Drum, saying: “Unlike the dated yin-yang version of the recent past, the straightened lines of the symbol are well balanced.”
The Drum caught up with Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s chief marketing officer, about Pepsi’s history and legacy, and how the rebrand sets the brand up for future success.
What was the reason for Pepsi’s rebrand?
As one of the world’s most recognizable brands, Pepsi is updating its iconic logo and visual identity to reflect the energy and excitement of the brand more accurately in a way that embodies its unapologetic point of view. It was also important for us to ensure that our logo and visual system were built for a future that will be increasingly digital in nature, while also enabling us to hero our zero sugar offerings at the same time. We thought it was a great time to do this as the brand celebrates its 125th birthday as a way to mark a new era for Pepsi that will boldly set it up for the future.
Tell us about the history of Pepsi’s logo and brand evolution. Who designed the first iteration and how has it evolved over the decades?
The original scripted logo dates back to 1898 when pharmacist Caleb Bradham named his beverage Pepsi Cola and was done in a pattern that could be easily reprinted by late 19th century printers. In 1905, the brand introduced the longest running iteration of its logo, which featured a bolder, more modernized script that fully spelled out Pepsi-Cola and became the first to debut on a television commercial.
In 1950, Pepsi brought the color blue into its wordmark, introducing a new typography with the shortened name overlaid on a bottle cap that was optimal for modern-day advertising. In the 60s, the ’cola’ was dropped from the logo while the name was bolded for a quicker and simpler read. In the 70s, the brand introduced its iconic globe which was ideal for cans and brought its own font into the mark in the 80s. In the 90s, the wordmark was broken up from the globe and in the early 2000s the color blue became the primary color, with the wordmark in white. And then in 2008, the brand introduced a minimalist version of the logo with lowercase text and italicized fonts, along with more muted colors, separate from the globe.
Since that time, it’s been 14 years since we introduced a new logo and visual identity and, as you can see throughout our history, we understand the importance of periodically revisiting our look to ensure we are resonating with fans in the places we show up and continuing to innovate, staying timely and timeless at once. Our latest evolution of our logo and visual identity is a nod to our past with a big leap forward into the future.
Tell us about the creative and aesthetic vision behind the new design.
The new look builds on and strengthens our distinctive brand through bold type, an energetic color palette and a unified logomark. It is unapologetically current and undeniably Pepsi.
Holistically, the new look is a bold leap for the brand. Among the key updates is the addition of the color black, an ode to Pepsi Zero Sugar, and the new ’pulse’ of electric blue – a living and breathing design asset that allows Pepsi to flex and customize its look to any setting, platform or partnership to reach consumers in new and exciting ways, every day. There are a number of new elements in this visual system from the can silhouette to the new bold Pepsi font that nod to the equities from our history while incorporating new modern elements that reflect our bold vision for the future in an increasingly digital world.
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How does the rebrand tie into Pepsi’s current brand strategy and messaging?
Pepsi is a challenger brand that is all about unapologetic enjoyment. It is deeply rooted in pop culture with a strong history of innovation, always looking ahead at what’s next and in tune with fan preferences and trends.
Evolving our Pepsi product portfolio to drive more of a focus on products that contain fewer added sugars and more sustainable packaging is core to our broader PEP+ transformation at PepsiCo that is centered on people and the planet. So for Pepsi, the addition of the color black in the new design enables a more seamless integration of Pepsi Zero Sugar – a big bet for the brand as we look at our next chapter.
The blue electric ’pulse’ pulls from our brand’s history in music and that also creates a flexible animation system that will enable the brand to thrive in increasingly digital environments. As we continue to partner with some of the world’s most high-profile brands and partners, we need to ensure the system is flexible and can transcend physical and digital platforms while creating exciting new touchpoints to reach our fans.
Finally, tell us about the creative team behind the rebrand.
This new brand design was led through an incredible multi-year partnership between our internal Pepsi brand team and our in-house PepsiCo Design & Innovation team. Projects like this don’t happen overnight and so many people across the organization were involved to bring this to life, as it was a true labor of love over several years, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to finally share it with the world.