Karrie Jacobs


January 16, 2009

Come Alive! You're in the Pepsi Administration…

Pepsi banner on display in South Station, Boston.

I am not one of those people who thought that the Obama logo was designed to allude to the old Pepsi yin/yang emblem. When I wrote about the presidential campaign graphics almost a year ago, I was more interested in the relationship between Obama’s stylized sunrise and the one found on the Arizona state flag.

Since then, Pepsi has had a redesign and tilted the familiar logo on its axis. I almost hear the creative director from Arnell explaining to a conference room full of Pepsi executives that while the old logo was static the new one is dynamic, evoking the excitement of a changing world. I bet the world “change” was used a lot in that meeting. But, I hadn’t noticed. I’m not a big soda drinker and more important things were happening in October when the update went public.

Yesterday, I rode Amtrak up to Boston, arriving and departing via South Station. At the end of a long day, I was staring fixedly at the big illuminated information board, waiting for my departing train’s track number to appear when it dawned on me that the whole damned station had been taken over by Pepsi. I was surrounded by jumbo banners each featuring a peppy, meaningless marketing phrase in which this new logo serves as a replacement for the letter “O.” Hmmm. Where have I seen that trick before? The banner shown above was directly to the right of the big board, and was in my line of sight for about 20 minutes before I became fully conscious of a)what it says and b)how the logo is positioned.

Question: Was any corporation so happy about the triumph of George W. Bush in either 2000 or 2004 that they changed their branding to associate one of their products with the president? Did anyone make their “W” bigger and bolder? Did Busch beer, for instance, alter its spelling? How about for Clinton? Reagan maybe? Or is this a new form of coattail riding? Got an answer? Let me know: kj[at]karriejacobs[dot]com.

Bonus video here.

P.S. Also see:  The Year of the O