Pepsi had developed a new brand promise “Capture the excitement of NOW” and a relatively new logo, but the truth was there was no story behind the identity. They also recognized an immediate need to provide global markets graphic flexibility vs being locked into a rigid, corporate identity system. At Tether, we rexamined every aspect of the brand from the ground up. To kick-off the project, I visited not just Pepsi HQ in New York, but midwest bottling plants to explore every innovation in production and printing imaginable together with our industrial design team. While simultaneously working on strategy and brand voice, we developed an army of new 3D bottle forms and reimagined Pepsi’s graphic language.

The lack of meaning behind the Pepsi globe I found particularly disturbing and, in considering its forms, I began to wonder what the red, white and blue looked like before it was “trapped” by a white ring. This line of inquiry lead to the idea of “liberating the globe,” or owning red and blue—divided by white—as a path towards graphic flexibility. This approach resulted in ownable, super-graphic applications and a flexible system of icons, giving Pepsi the ability to speak differently to different audiences (Mexico, for example, was an early market adopter). 

Over 2+ years, I art directed and managed scores of designers to develop hundreds of deliverables, including a revised Pepsi logo, consumer packaging, video, audio, swag, driver uniforms, truck graphics, fountain cups, and more. I designed multiple 3D exhibitions to win buy-in on the design work in development with marketing teams and bottlers around the world, from Mexico City to Dubai. All told, this was a massive project (the number of aluminum can designs explored would boggle the mind) and at some point everyone at Tether contributed. But the work was a blast to do and earned a Red Dot Award for excellence in packaging. 

CCO—Stanley Hainsworth, ExecCD—Steve Barrett, CD—Daniel R. Smith, Writer—Neil Webster, Primary Graphic Designer—Nate Manny, plus numerous industrial + graphic designers
Tether case study