Old news but maybe not to you

Over two weeks ago, I read an article in Under Construction’s Brand New that Pepsi has rebranded itself.  I’ve tweeted about my thoughts and have said many times that I wasn’t going to talk about it anymore, but realized today that I had not said anything on my blog.  So here are my thoughts. Leave a comment with what you think of the new branding.

Now, while the Pepsi logo itself is memorable and distinct, I can’t for the life of me think of what the Mountain Dew or Sierra Mist cans/bottles looked like a month ago. Not necessarily because they were bad design – but they just weren’t memorable branding.  I think they often changed too, which would make it even harder to remember.

I have to say that this rebranding as a whole leaves me feeling “meh”. Turning the Pepsi wave into a smile (yes, that’s seriously what it’s supposed to be, smiling at you) is creepy and sets itself up to be negatively parodied quite easily.  It also destroys what little branding Pepsi had developed.

There are some good things from the design, however.  The fact that Diet Pepsi’s smile is a little thinner and Pepsi Max’s is a little thicker are clever – if you can see past the look of irregularity. While clever and unique to the specific colas, it isn’t different enough so it looks poorly constructed.  The simplicity of the labels reminds me of energy drinks, but just the one color background is appealing to me.

Mountain Dew, which has been considered for years as Xtreme! is now mediocre and appears to be as laid back as the feeling you get from the Mello Yellow branding. The switch from “Mountain Dew” to “Mtn Dew” seems to try too hard to be hip – because anything that’s easily textable is most definitely hip, right?  The label is no longer extreme and makes me think 70s.  Maybe Mtn Dew has given up on being extreme, since there are far more other drinks to choose from to get that energy “kick” that Mountain Dew once monopolized.  I do feel that this branding will translate nicely onto snowboards and other extreme sports gear – but if Mtn Dew is no longer extreme, are they relevant as a sponsor in those types of sporting events any more?

Sierra Mist has had the most unmemorable branding of them all. I seem to think there may have been a mountain involved in a previous label, but that may be as old as the very first one. In any case, I would have to say I mostly approve of the Sierra Mist can.  While it uses the most cliched effect in design (Gaussian Blur – or any other blur for that matter), I still feel it’s effective.  It doesn’t at all look like your typical pop can, which some would argue is bad.  However, why do we need it to?  While this design maybe would work best as an airfreshner branding, I applaud them for taking a risk on this one.  I think the Sierra Mist branding is the one most people are saying they either love or hate. No in-betweeners on this one.

All in all, I feel Pepsi did not need a rebranding.  The familiar Pepsi wave makes me think of pouring a Pepsi into a glass.  The new one makes me think of things they probably aren’t going for.  Business-wise, they probably did it because of a drop in sales. So logically, it *does* make sense to rebrand. But who’s surprised by a drop in sales? You can’t buy a can of pop at the end of the month after paying rent.  I’m not buying Pepsi – but I’m not buying Coke either.  Hopefully Coke isn’t as trigger happy as Pepsi is with their rebranding.

Photos courtesy of Brand New.