Does Pepsi win the consumer test challenge?

We tested Pepsi’s new logo and you may be surprised by the results.

Written by David Brain
April 13, 2023

Recently Pepsi launched a new logo to pretty good reviews.

Which is unusual.

It’s hard to launch a new logo or rebrand for a favourite or high profile product or service without attracting derision from the rest of the marketing industry, the mainstream media and occasionally if they notice, customers and the public.

It’s basically a free hit for all of them.

We in the marketing community know a new logo and ‘livery’ can be important to refresh a brand, but in the eyes of consumers, it performs no tangible function and is occasionally accompanied by the worst thing it can be associated with - the language of brand and design thinking.

 “X refreshed their brand the other day and I approved of their spare typeface and palette of crisp new colours denoting freshness and elegance” said no real person ever. 

If consumers ever hear this stuff they either feel stupid or, worse, that they are being scammed.

Mainstream journalists who in many ways are opposite of marketeers and are trained in reductive thinking can’t help but see this as all bullshit from overpaid dilettantes. 

But if the brand is big enough it’s an opportunity for some outraged reader engagement especially if they can get someone to confess how much it cost and some vox pops of customers that hate it.

And those reactions are not hard to get because people often don’t react well to changes to familiar and loved products. If you genuinely enjoy a product or a service the last thing you want is a marketing person ‘improving’ it for you. 

Which initially anyway, is exactly where Pepsi finds themselves, because many of their consumers do not agree with the great and good in the marketing community and prefer the old logo to the new one.

We know this, because Stickybeak tested it!

We asked four hundred 18-24 year old consumers across Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and Singapore which of the two logos they preferred. The dreaded Gen Z!

This is inherently unfair in that one logo is familiar and one is new, but also, exactly the proposition the consumer will face (if they notice) when they are at the store. 

Eventually they will get used to the new look, but right now they are not and it appears to jar them somewhat.

Here’s exactly how that question looked:

As we recruit real people via social media, not professional responders on panels, we only have a very limited amount of their time before they get back to TikTok or Instagram from where we interrupted them.

This is a feature of Stickybeak not a bug by the way. We think this is like the retail experience.

‘I have a bunch of things going on, ‘oh what brand do I preferrrrrrrr  . . . . that one’.

For fast moving consumer goods brands competing on the shelf in the cooler or at the check out, this is exactly how it is. A fast decision made on the go with other things happening around you and more important things to get to.

So with Stickybeak the interface is incredibly fast and familiar and in this case they simply swipe on the desired option.

And when they did:

83% of those Gen Z consumers in four different countries preferred the old logo and 18% preferred the new logo.

That’s over four to one preferring the old logo and defying those marketing thought leaders that have hated that logo since the day it was launched.  

The verbatim comments are a Chat GPT summary of the hundreds of text responses we got to the follow up question ‘why’ did you prefer the option you did.  This is also available in a word cloud or in full via CSV since you asked!

To be clear, Stickybeak is NOT suggesting that the new Pepsi logo is a dud.  Or even that the old one is great.  Just that one is familiar and one is not.

And so there will be a period of time before consumers get used to the new one and during that time it is less effective than the old one.

So expect an above-the-line, in-store and promotional blitz to accompany the rollout of the new cans next year, because Pepsi almost certainly anticipated this and they will want people to become familiar with the new one fast.

So perhaps once they’ve done that, we’ll re-test the two logos and see how it all settles down?

In the meantime Stickybeak is your best and fastest global platform for testing logos, packaging, messages, creative, influencers and just about any content anywhere to help you make better marketing decisions.