Last week Pepsico, the beverage giant, unveiled a new shape for its 16- and 20-ounce soda bottles. It was the first change the company has made to their bottles in 17 years.
The new bottle now has a more contoured bottom half that makes it easier to grip, as well as a shorter label around the bottle to allow for more of the soda to be seen. The famous Pepsi globe logo will also appear to be larger on the label. Andre Foote, a spokeswoman for the company, said that the new bottles will appear in retail stores around April of this year and will first be used for Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max, and Pepsi Next bottles.
Pepsi has really been trying to change its image as of late, and for good reason too. Coca-Cola, their main competitor, holds the majority of the market share (about 42% as of 2011, according to Beverage Digest). In it’s latest efforts, Pepsi has recently signed a multiyear deal to sponsor the Superbowl halftime show, and they had A-List celebrities like Beyonce and Sofia Vergara endorse their brand. But this is the first time in 17 years that they’re changing the physical dimensions of their bottles. And though it may not seem like this change is going to generate much change in profits, this is definitely a big deal. Most companies don’t execute such dramatic changes on their brands because it’s usually the physical features that define a brand to the public. Consistency is typically good for brand recognition amongst consumers. For example, most people around the world recognize the Golden Arches as being symbols of the McDonald’s brand. If they were to suddenly change the Arches to say, rectangles, the company would probably not be as successful with consumers as they currently are.
In my opinion, I think Pepsi is sending a serious message to the public. They’re not just changing their bottle designs, no—they’re revamping their brand. It’s interesting to note the differences between Pepsi and Coca-Cola as brands. Pepsi has always stood for youthfulness, vibrancy, and as a company that is always changing with the times. It’s modified its logos several times since its inception in order to appear more in with the younger crowd. Coke on the other hand, represents tradition, values, and consistency of a good product. So any change within their product most likely won’t agree with consumers (Remember New Coke. Or the white Coke cans?), unless it’s incremental. So in a way, Pepsi should have the upper hand with its flexibility to adapt to the times. However, it’s still behind Coke in overall beverage profits. In fact, last year there was even a 4% decline in its soda consumption and a 3% decline in that of its non-carbonated drinks amongst consumers. So will this new bottle work sweeten Pepsi’s profits in the long run, or will it just fizzle out and go flat? Also, is it just me or does Pepsi look natural only when it’s in a can, as does Coke only when it’s in a glass bottle? Maybe Pepsi should change something in its soda cans instead of in its bottles…hmm.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!