Pepsi®’s new identity: Hurdles of taking over the cola market



By Tunji Faleye

The volatility of the Nigerian market and the ongoing decline in consumers’ purchasing power have driven many brands to introduce engaging launches and relaunches of their products, while others have unveiled new logos and visual identities. Recently, Pepsi®made a remarkable debut of its new logo and visual identity in Nigeria, exemplifying its dedication to innovation, creativity, and cultural relevance.

Two prominent landmarks, the National Theatre in Lagos and the Abuja City Gate in the Federal Capital Territory, were illuminated with stunning digital displays. These spectacles used vivid digital animation to bring Pepsi®’s new identity to life. At the National Theatre, Pepsi®’s iconic bottle emerged dramatically from the top of the structure, while the City Gate welcomed the new label’s arrival.

In the word of Marius Vorster, Marketing Director– PepsiCo West, East, and Central Africa (WECA),“This brand refresh transcends not only a simple logo update but signifies the dawn of a new era for Pepsi®. “Through the transformation of iconic landmarks and the creation of captivating virtual experiences, we are reaffirming our commitment to innovation, creativity, and fostering deep cultural connections.”

Also, Norden Thurston, the Chief Marketing Officer, Seven-Up Bottling Company, has this to say, “The visual identity refresh is coming at a pivotal time from brand Pepsi®, as the new look strategically draws equity from Pepsi®’s past whilst incorporating modern elements to create a new look that is unapologetically contemporary and undeniably Pepsi®. This new look and colour palette introduces electric blue and black to bring a contemporary edge to the classic Pepsi® colour scheme, whilst the new signature Pepsi® pulse evokes the “ripple, pop and fizz” of Pepsi®-Cola– moving in time to the beat of the music, the roar of the crowd and the heartbeat of culture.”

Succinctly put, GM Marketing, Seven-Up Bottling Company, Segun Ogunleye, added, “The new logo aims at dialing up brand distinction, deepening influence and appeal whilst further driving connection with our Naija consumers leveraging iconic landmarks such as the National Theatre, Lagos and the Abuja City Gate. As our customers and consumers interact with the new look at different touchpoints nationwide, we assure them of the same quality and refreshing experience.”

While the new visual identity and digital spectacles are impressive, there’s a concern that the emphasis on aesthetics might overshadow essential aspects such as product quality and taste, which are vital for long-term consumer satisfaction. Pepsi’s visual identity continues to highlight its strong ties to music, lifestyle, and football. Brand managers need to build on this alignment to ensure that these cultural elements resonate with younger demographics, who are significant consumers of the brand.

Interestingly while the contemporary design is likely to attract younger consumers, there is a possibility that older, more traditional customers may not resonate with the new look. Therefore, it is crucial to balance modernity with elements that maintain the brand’s long-standing appeal. Additionally, given the intense competition in the Nigerian beverage market, which is dominated by strong local and international brands, Pepsi needs to ensure that its visual rebranding is supported by effective distribution and pricing strategies to maintain and grow its market share.

Despite Pepsi®’s long-standing presence in the market, the complexities of the Nigerian market, characterized by acute dynamism and challenging market segmentation, are significant. Furthermore, the high-tech and visually appealing elements of the launch might not lead to increased sales if consumers find the products unaffordable or of a lower priority. For Pepsi® to stay ahead of the competition, the brand custodians must ensure consistent quality and innovation across all aspects of brand experience, not just in visual identity.

What’s your thought on this analysis. Leave your comments.

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