Pepsi CMO Todd Kaplan on the cola's 125th anniversary marketing and new logo
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Pepsi CMO Todd Kaplan on the cola's 125th anniversary marketing and new logo

Aug 15, 2023

A pop-up diner in New York City, open from Oct. 19-25, will recreate the sets of some of the most memorable Pepsi commercials and feature memorabilia from the Pepsi archives.

PepsiCo said it would celebrate the 125th birthday of its namesake cola brand with 125 days of events that begin concurrently with the public unveiling of products bearing its new logo, which was first previewed earlier this year.

Read more: Inside the Pepsi rebrand

A pop-up diner in New York City, open from Oct. 19-25, will recreate the sets of some of the most memorable Pepsi commercials and feature memorabilia from the Pepsi archives. The brand is selling limited seating for $50 per person, and a contest will award five winners a trip to experience it. It has yet to reveal the exact location of the diner other than it will be in Midtown Manhattan.

A suite of what the brand called “high-energy” new commercials, kicking off during the first week of the NFL season, will show off the new logo and its pulsing properties. The below spot, featuring “Bassline” by Allister X, was created by PepsiCo’s in-house content studio and design team.

The brand is also set to give away a free Pepsi to consumers who text “PEPSI125” to 81234 on Aug. 28.

In the following interview, excerpted from a conversation Wednesday, Pepsi Chief Marketing Officer Todd Kaplan discusses the anniversary, the new look and what it means for the future.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity

For 125 years. It’s a very big milestone for a brand like Pepsi to have a 125th birthday. And so knowing we're coming out with our new logo and visual identity, and knowing what a special moment that is, as we look to the next 125 years, we thought this was a really great touchpoint to really kick things off in a big way and celebrate our storied past while also acknowledging our exciting future forward, so we couldn't be more excited.

Pepsi is a very tactile brand versus a lot of other brands out there in the world. And so the amount of touchpoints and things that we have to change when you think of trucks, fountain equipment, signage, cans, vending machines, you extrapolate it out, this is going to be a conversion that is going to happen over multiple years. So it’s a pretty big decision for us to decide to change our logo and visual identity. And so over the last four-plus years, as we’ve been developing this, we’ve done a lot of consumer testing and gained a lot of understanding of how people view it, why they like it, what it says about our brand, and we've been very thoughtful about how and why we’re deciding to do it, so we’re very excited about the fact that the day is actually here, and we’re flipping the switch and starting to roll this out is really exciting for us.

I think at the end of the day, it definitely pops. And we have great consumer data that shows that consumers definitely prefer this logo to our current one. And we think it's more modern, it's more youthful. it’s all these great things that we want to be. We certainly expect it will help our brands and overall sales.

Read more: Designers react to the new Pepsi logo

There’s a couple of things as we look to the future of this brand. One is it will be a more digital era, and so we built this new visual design with a digital-first mindset and knowing it has this pulse-like animation you've seen, and it’s kind of adaptable and different, to be in the different places and spaces that it will exist.

We’re also leading with Zero Sugar. So you’ll see black is incorporated into the logo much more in the visual identity. And we’re going to be leading with Zero Sugar as our primary product that will be out in all of our communications.

And three is all the other ways in which we’re going to continue to evolve, whether it’s our Tesla trucks, that don’t have emissions, all the way to our sustainability efforts, and so many other things that we’re going to be doing as we push this brand forward into the future, while we continue to kind of modernize it and maintain that youthful spirit that Pepsi has always had, with a nod to its heritage, but a modern leap forward is kind of the way we kind of characterize this entire redesign.

It’s the fastest-growing part of our category by far, and it’s a critical business opportunity for us. As a brand that’s consumer-first in terms of everything we do, we want to be where consumer preferences are. And right now, there's a lot of energy and excitement around that as a category. And so we're trying to make the solutions to give the consumers what they need.

Diners are so intimately connected to Pepsi over the years and so many great Pepsi moments have started at diners, whether it’s our “Is Pepsi OK?” Super Bowl spot, whether it's Michael J. Fox ordering a Pepsi in “Back to the Future,” all the way to the “Cheeseburger Cheeseburger,” guys on “Saturday Night Live,” there's so many great moments that come from these Pepsi diners that is such a part of our brand that we thought what a better way to create an immersive experience around our brand’s history and bring to it to life, along with great iconic moments in music, in our advertising and our culinary food and beverage products as well.

Watch the 2019 Super Bowl ad here:

We’re going to look to celebrate some of our most iconic entertainment moments and music moments from over the years. And we’ll have a lot more exciting things going on between music, sports and entertainment. We’re going to be doing a takeover of People magazine [Sept. 4 issue].

I can’t underscore how amazingly immersive and fun this diner will really be. It'll be Instagram worthy at every turn and have a lot of really fun, exciting moments, whether they’re from Pepsi’s history or the culinary experience that you get to enjoy there.

In this article:

Jon Springer covers sports marketing and beverage marketing. He formerly covered the food retail industry for Winsight and Supermarket News, and is a former sports and features writer for The Cecil Whig, a daily newspaper in Elkton, Maryland.

Read more: Inside the Pepsi rebrandRead more: Designers react to the new Pepsi logo