PepsiCo will roll out its first new shape Pepsi bottle since 1996 across the US from April and says further launches will follow in 2013, and packaging expert Andrew Streeter tells BeverageDaily.com he thinks the brand has distanced itself from the classic Coke bottle shape.
Mauro Porcini, PepsiCo chief design officer, is heading-up a project to overhaul the brand's entire consumer-facing portfolio, and the company claims its new bottle – which comes in 16oz and 20oz sizes, and will be used for Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi MAX and Pepsi NEXT – better expresses brand DNA and Pepsi's youthful spirit.
Pepsi said that the bottle’s new bold swirl and elevated profile reflected brand attributes and youthful spirit, while the etched, grippable bottom “allows consumers to have a more stimulating, tactile interaction with the bottle itself”.
Discussing the bottle sizes, and Angelique Krembs, VP TM Pepsi Marketing, said that this single-serve format was “the most visible and tangible connection point we have with our consumers”.
While full nationwide conversion will take a few more years, PepsiCo said the new look bottle marked the next step in the firm’s Live For Now marketing campaign, “capturing the excitement of now for Pepsi consumers”, as the firm aims to narrow the gap with US cola market leader Coke.
Nudge towards energy drinks in PET evolution?
Andrew Streeter, packaging innovation director at Datamonitor, and director of Pack-Track, told BeverageDaily.com that he believed the new Pepsi bottle was fulfilling several tasks, "which at first glance, it appears to do well".
"There is this relentless move to an increasingly on-the-move society, so the way a consumer engages with a packaged brand is vital; some good work by Pepsi in this respect, a secure and tactile grip and brand engagement," Streeter said.
He speculated further that there, "might be a nudge towards the energy drinks in PET bottle evolution, where the trend moved from off-the-shelf bottles and simpler design shaping to brand bespoke, but with a common formula of a means of holding in the hand to the lower half of the bottle with the upper half freed up for branding".
Clear blue water between Pepsi, Coke
Streeter added: "I find the bottle design more assertive than the past Pepsi bottle and it has distanced it’s self from classic the Coca-Cola bottle. Assertiveness is a good word here, as the grip shape is a key overt visual feature, a lot of work has gone into the detail here.
That move led Streeter to wonder whether Pepsi was cultivating a "more masculine persona", he said, but he added that he thought the right word was 'assertiveness'.
The images I have seen show a lighter than typical cola colour, so I look forward to seeing this bottle head on in the reality of on-the-shelf against other cola brands in live retail scenarios," Streeter said.
"Then at Pack-Track we can consider the brand values coming through. I am also curious as to the PET weight and where the pack to product ratio has moved to, from old to new."
Finally, Streeter said he though the new Pepsi bottle would perform well in an online shopping context, given that "brands in that scenario are reduced to a thumbnail on the computer or handset, this shape ought to communicate well at these small sizes".
Pepsi said it will also sell a 12oz glass bottle as a premium package in selected stores.