This month started with an exciting announcement in the plastic packaging world, and it came straight from the red, white and blue—no, the other red, white and blue: Pepsi. PepsiCo Inc. announced that for the first time in 16 years, it's changing its bottle design. Despite changes to the logo, the soda has come in the same bottle since 1997. So what does the sudden, drastic redesign tell us about the product packaging industry in general?
Photo courtesy of Plastic News
Never Stop Innovating
The Pepsi redesign goes to show what many product packaging companies already know: It's never too late to innovate. PepsiCo Inc. shook things up when it debuted its newest logo in 2008, and this is the exact attitude that helps a ubiquitous product maintain its relevance—especially in a competitive industry.
The new, swirled plastic packaging shape is literally a twist on the simple, classic design of the old bottle—and of hundreds of imitators on the market today. Innovating with a new design keeps consumers' eyes on this product. The product packaging is inextricably linked to the product itself, making a statement that goes beyond functionality.
Know Your Audience
The best product packaging companies and designers don't create plastic packaging for their clients—they create it for consumers. Pepsi cited its brand's "edginess," "playfulness" and "youthful spirit" as the key influences in this redesign, which says in so many words who the company's target demographics are [ref]http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20130401/NEWS/130409998/pepsi-tries-new-look-with-first-package-redesign-since-1997 [/ref]. Is there a practically infinite number of other ways that the redesign could have gone? Of course—but this design in particular speaks to the young, free-spirited and non-conformist target audience that this company depends upon.
This is something that we encounter here at PI all the time—take our product packaging for cell phones, for example. We've designed and created packaging for phones that are meant for adults as well as those made specifically for children, and each comes with its own challenges. For the latter, you have to consider how packaging can showcase and protect the product while creating an alluring visual for both the child that would use the phone and the parent that would buy it. And this is just one example—as it and the Pepsi redesign show us, knowing your audience is half the battle when it comes to effective design.