Blogger Peter Shankman was treated to an elaborate series of courier deliveries that culminated in a sample of the new can: the same royal blue hue, but clean-looking, polished to a metallic sheen, and sporting the sort of lower-case lettering that was last popular during the disco craze.
A few people have already pointed out that the new logo slightly resembles the one used by Barack Obama's current campaign. I don't see it myself. Both are circles, and both are red, white, and blue. But if anything, the Pepsi logo looks a whole lot like, well, the old Pepsi logo. And even that soon-to-retire yin-yangy logo, which came online in 2002 but was based on a decades-old design, looks more like Obama's stamp than the swishier new one.
If you really want to talk about cola conspiracies, let's go back to Coke's ill-fated makeover of 1985. Back then, it wasn't just the look that changed. In the same period, the recipe did, too. By the time the ill-fated New Coke was pulled and the so-called Classic Coke was back on shelves, Coke had fully swapped cane sugar for that ubiquitous industrial-grade sweetener, high fructose corn syrup. (Many Coke products made outside of the U.S., such as the Coke in Mexico, still use cane sugar, and it's easy to taste the difference that superior ingredients make.)
Lots of people think the whole New Coke fiasco was engineered to fail so that Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) could switch to the cheaper sweetener without jarring consumers. Snopes, the well-regarded urban myth busting site, says the situation was a little more complicated than that, but if you're like me, you're still skeptical.
But don't worry, brand loyalists. Pepsi's recipe isn't changing, just its costume, and you won't see the logo rolled out in earnest (signage, grocery store shelves, ads) until 2009. The tweak comes just in time, as Pepsico just announced it has to lay off 3,300 people and close six plants.
Not to be outdone, Coke just announced that starting next year, it will put calorie information on the front of its packaging instead of merely on the back. Given the fat-feeding capabilities of your average soda pop, though, with 240 calories in a 20 oz. bottle, that could turn out to be another marketing bungle for Big Red.