Fast Company

Pepsi Logo Design Brief: Branding Lunacy to the Max

A leaked pdf outlines the thinking behind the controversial new Pepsi logo. It may be one of the most ridiculous things ever perpetrated by somebody calling himself a designer.

If you have yet to do so, take a minute to look through the highlights of the 27-page design brief explaining the thought and design process that brought you the new Pepsi logo.

pepsi-emotionsYou've probably seen the logo everywhere -- tops of taxis, subway stops, billboards -- and wondered if it was inspired by the Obama "O." Would that it were so benign.

The design brief (right-click to save) currently making the rounds of the Web, suggests that, if done right, the new Pepsi logo will likely lead to The Rapture that Evangelicals promise is coming.  It also illustrates the extreme disconnect between the marketing world and the real world.

The presentation, by the Arnell Group (also responsible for the botched design of the Tropicana orange juice carton) contains visual representations of and comparisons with the following: the golden ratio, the Mona Lisa, the Parthenon, the Gutenberg Bible, the earth and its magnetic fields, and the solar system/universe. None of these things have anything to do with soda.

In a modest moment, the authors titled the presentation/pitch  "BREATHTAKING".

Every page of this document is more ridiculous than the last ending with a pseudo-scientific explanation of how Pepsi's new branding identity will manifest it's own gravitational pull. But the craziest thing is that this pitch worked! Pepsi bought it -- reportedly for several hundred million dollars -- and now we have "the emoticon of a new generation."

pepsi-energy-fields

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21 Comments

  • Javier CArnevali

    I think there is a market for everithig. If PEPSI's managers bought it is because they found value on it.I think nobody can criticize that. 

  • deborah brogdon

    Pepsi has offended me big time. I guess the ceo's don't believe in God, that's your choice, BUT remember our men and women have fought and died for all our freedoms, yours and mine too. And instead of using the excuse of not wanting to offend anyone, why don't u just tell the truth, you don't want the word 'GOD' on your products.  I feel that you've insulted every Christian and everyone that believe in God  why don't u write your own logo's and not use  the american pledges or our nations anthems and take our the words you don't like.  YOU HAVE OFFENDED ME AND MINE !!!!!

  • Dennis Brauer

    What is your problem , except that you have nothing better to do in your life except bitch about a design! How about people that don't have jobs to go to or tthe govenment going down the toilet, I suggest you get a F-------- life.

  • Art Belanger

    You say you don't want to offend any one, well you have, you have offended me, my family, several of my friends and co-workers. You can sell your products to the few whom you didn't want to offend. I will also be taking this matter up with the management to have your machines taken out of the work place.

  • Mike

    I'm upset about a company that would do something like this because of a very small few!! I WILL NOT BUY PEPSI PRODUCTS FROM NOW ON!!! I don't want to offend you by using money with IN GOD WE TRUST!!!! It's all over facebook and I will help spread the word not to buy Pepsi!!

  • Gary Allred

    I just am very upset about a Company that would only have got so big because if God wasn't in it for them
    then they would not be so sucessful. They are so scared to offend anyone because of using In God We Trust on thier product but they have no problem taking money that we have In God We Trust on it. I will
    get this out to everyone I come in contact with and me and my family does not want to offend Pepsi by
    sending them money reading In God We Trust. Pepsi was the only soft drink that we purchased.

  • Fanastasia Berdero

    Pepsi is hosting a contest to identify new social-program ideas worth funding, and 32 winning proposals will share $1.3 million in grant money this month from the soft-drink giant. HSUS is in the running for one of two $250,000 grants.

    A few weeks ago, we took a look at HSUS's 2009 tax return. You may remember that last year HSUS spent a scandalous $3,999 for every animal it claimed to have "saved." Do the math. The Pepsi grant, if HSUS were to win it, would allow this horribly inefficient organization to rescue a grand total of just 62.51 animals. (Okay, 63. We'll give them credit for the extra half-dog.)

    HSUS is currently ranked #2 in the voting, and the top two projects will win money. And here's the saddest part: The following worthwhile projects won't get any funding if HSUS succeeds:

    Does the Humane Society of the United States really need another quarter-million dollars?

    Is Pepsi really thinking of letting HSUS win this much money on projects they don't really do???
    Maybe HSUS would give their grant to the local Humane Society..let's wait and see just what they will do..since they are in the running?? By the way, I have always drank Pepsi but if HSUS wins this money guess I'll turn to water, better for me anyway...

  • Nensi shuan

    Almost all input is given through the touch screen, which understands complex gestures using multi-touch online payments. The iPhone's interaction techniques enable the user to move the content up or down by a touch-drag motion of the finger. For example, zooming in and out of web pages and photos is done by placing two fingers on the screen and spreading them farther apart or bringing them closer together, a gesture known as "pinching" web design services. Scrolling through a long list or menu is achieved by sliding a finger over the display from bottom to top, or vice versa to go back. In either case, the list moves as if it is pasted on the outer surface of a wheel, slowly decelerating as if affected by friction. In this way, the interface simulates the physics of a real object. Other user-centered interactive effects include horizontally sliding sub-selection, the vertically sliding keyboard and bookmarks menu, and widgets that turn around to allow settings to be configured on the other side. Menu bars are found at the top and bottom of the screen when necessary. Their options vary by program wireless broadband, but always follow a consistent style motif. In menu hierarchies, a "back" button in the top-left corner of the screen displays the name of the parent folder.The iPhone allows audio conferencing, call holding, call merging, caller ID, and integration with other cellular network features and iPhone functions. For example, if a song is playing while a call is received, it gradually fades out, and fades back when the call has ended internet service providers. The proximity sensor shuts off the screen and touch-sensitive circuitry when the iPhone is brought close to the face, both to save battery and prevent unintentional touches. This iPhone does not support video calling, and the first two models only supported voice dialing through third party applications.Voice control, available only on the iPhone 3GS, allows users to say a contact's name or number and the iPhone will dial.

  • Lemo Jhon

    We live in an ever changing society and brands, corporations and images all have to change right with it funny cats. I agree that Pepsi should have went in this direction with their brand. I'm assuming that there are trying to capture the attention of a new, younger audience. As a member of that younger generation national institute of health, a logo such as this would catch my eye and in turn make me wonder "they changed the look, what about the taste". Quite possibly, prompting me to try Pepsi.

  • Ann Stringer

    Positively the funniest brand brief I have ever read. Sadly, it's not a joke.

    Should be required reading for all design students and in biz school branding classes. Link to download the entire brief is at the bottom of the article.

  • Johnny Nascar

    Mr. Perry-Zucker, thank you for this post. I was delighted to see it weeks after I saw it EVERYWHERE ELSE ON THE DESIGN BLOGOSPHERE.

    Also way to lift so many of your "observations" from the comments on sites like Brand New... clever.

  • vic donati

    This document reads like a desperate justification of the terrible new Pepsi identity - A million dollar document for a 10 cent logo. The arguments presented get progressively more hilarious with each page turn - you can almost hear the creators laughing at the idea that they might get away with this - AND THEY DID! It looks like they had a team of interns research the golden mean on google over a weekend - and then spun it into this insanity! A masterful pile of BS for those who would feast on it. If the identity were judged on its own merit - the best it could hope for is "winking ball"

  • Chris Yeh

    Design Fan--this is not a serious document that explains the logic behind this design. Rather, it is an abomination that invokes real design principles like the Golden Ratio to justify a terrible design and even more outrageous fees.

    Real designers don't need to cloak their explanations behind a wall of self-important mumbo-jumbo. Real designers can explain everything they do in simple words that anyone can understand.

    I have a design degree from the Stanford Product Design department, and I can assure you that this "design brief" is nothing more than the addled rantings of a witch doctor attempting to hoodwink a client.

  • Design Fan

    I wonder what your professors at RISD would say when they see you dissing the Golden Ratio and example applications of this important design principle as shown in this document such as the Mona Lisa, the Parthenon, the Gutenberg Bible etc., by writing a primitive, thoughtless and ignorant sentence such as "None of these things have anything to do with soda.".

    I agree with your assessment on the Tropicana design (I myself had a hard time finding the carton at the grocery store last night) however this is a 27 page serious document that explains the logic behind this design, whether it will be successful or not is a different story but as a writer in this magazine you sure lost credibility by making comments as if you knew nothing about design.

  • Chee Huat Teo

    This reminds me of the movie "Water" by Deepa Mehta. In the movie, the male protagonist was disgusted by his father, who justified sleeping with prostitutes as doing prostitutes a favor as his Brahmin body was 'effectively' purifying the souls of the prostitutes. With a little knowledge, you can justify almost anything.

  • Joshua Murphy

    I think you're just jealous that you did not think of it.. This is F-ING genius and if Pepsi bought it for several hundred million, then it was time well spent. Bravo Arnell Group for going to the extra mile to keep your workers employed in this horrible economy! :)