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After Early Hype, Pepsi Goes Slow on Global Rollout of New Logo

Arnell-Designed Brand Image Is Nowhere to Be Seen in New Ads

By Published on . 9

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- With all the commotion about Pepsi's recent makeover of its brand, you would think a new, fully global effort would try to strip out its old logo from every nook and cranny of the globe. Think again.

Anyone in North America who happens to see Pepsi International's new campaign, "I Can," will undoubtedly note the brand has kept intact its message of optimism. But viewers will also notice one very significant deviation. The new Peter Arnell-designed logo that is meant to resemble a smile and that has been plastered across North America is nowhere to be found in two new commercials, "The Rising" from CLM BBDO, France, and "Penguin" from BBDO, New York, now debuting in Europe and set to roll out in other regions around the world.


After spending millions of dollars to create the logo and introduce it at events with the potential for global audiences -- New Year's Eve in Times Square, Barack Obama's inauguration and the Super Bowl -- it's baffling that Pepsi, a beloved global brand, has chosen to soldier on with two distinctly different brand identities for the "next year or two."

"The new Pepsi brand identity recently introduced in North America has generated a very positive response from consumers," said a Pepsi International spokesman. "We expect to introduce the new Pepsi identity around the world over the next year or two. We will communicate specifics about those changes when we formulate our marketing plans."

The spokesman declined to explain why.

So as it stands today it will be 2010 or 2011 before the rest of the world sees the logo that Pepsi has so proudly displayed across North America. At least that would be the case if North America was in a bubble, the internet did not exist and consumers ceased to travel beyond borders. In short, we live in a global economy, something Pepsi was reminded of not long ago, when an ad depicting a calorie committing suicide that appeared once in a small German publication and received global attention.

The days of companies operating geographical regions as silos are over. Consumer product goods giants like Procter & Gamble and Unilever have become increasingly global in their marketing and brand management in recent years. And Pepsi's own nemesis, Coca-Cola, has been moving toward a more global approach as well. Its new "Open Happiness" tagline was adopted when that campaign's predecessor, "Coke Side of Life," proved difficult to translate across global markets. Coca-Cola has said that running its campaigns globally unifies ad messaging across disparate markets and is more efficient.

Of course, companies are still keen to tap into local markets with tailored creative messages and market-specific endorsers. Those producing identical messages across the world would sometimes find themselves quickly tripped up by language barriers and cultural differences. On the other hand, those companies whose very brand identities differ from country to country risk confusing consumers and appearing woefully out of touch with today's global realities.

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