NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- How long does it take to remake an icon? Try five months.
That's the amount of time Pepsi took to revamp its famous logo, after top executives Indra Nooyi and Massimo d'Amore called for a "quantum leap" forward in transforming the soft-drink category and defining Pepsi as a cultural leader, said Frank Cooper, Pepsi's VP-portfolio brands.
"We felt like, as we move out of this traditional mass marketing and mass distribution era into today's culture, there's an opportunity to bring humanity back, both in terms of the design but also in the way we engage consumers," he said. "By making the logo more dynamic and more alive ... [it is] absolutely a huge step in the right direction."
And a costly one. Pepsi would not discuss what it's paying for the revamp, but experts estimate the cost for a top firm to work five months at north of $1 million. But that's just the beginning. The real cost, said an expert, is in removing the old logo everywhere it appears and putting new material up. For Coke or Pepsi, when you add up all the trucks, vending machines, stadium signage, point-of-sale materials and more around the world, it could easily tally several hundred million dollars, the expert said.
The new logo is a white band in the middle of Pepsi's circle that loosely forms a series of smiles: A smile will characterize brand Pepsi, while a grin is used for Diet Pepsi and a laugh is used for Pepsi Max. The new logo is Pepsi's 11th in its 110-year history. Five logos have been introduced in the past 21 years, with the last update in 2002.
Less than subtle
Omnicom's Arnell Group was tapped to work on the redesigns, which also include Mountain Dew -- soon to be known as Mtn Dew -- and Sierra Mist. The agency already had experience working with Pepsi, having spearheaded more than 35 packaging designs for the company.
Consumers won't see a new campaign for a while. Mr. Cooper said the launch isn't expected until 2009. But "when we turn the lights on, hate it or love it, you will absolutely know that Pepsi is out in the marketplace," he said.
So far, branding experts are in both camps. "It's tilting the whole brand presentation from a classic expression of uniqueness and quality into something that is much more humorous, almost flippant," said Tony Spaeth, an identity consultant. "It worries me that it is less durable, less permanent and classic. It comes across as more of a campaign idea than an enduring brand expression."
"This seems to be a really good solution. It feels like the same Pepsi we know and love, but it's more adventurous, more youthful, with a bit more personality to it," said Chris Campbell, executive creative director at Interbrand. "In theory, what they're doing sounds like a really clever solution to link together a family of brands."