Pepsi's Nonsensical Logo Redesign Document: $1 Million for This?

Last Updated Feb 10, 2009 11:51 AM EST

Pepsi paid $1 million for its new logo (even though it looks a lot like other brands' logos), but the details of exactly how Arnell Group justified that astonishing fee have remained hidden -- until now.

AgencySpy obtained a fantastic PDF of a work-in-progress document from Arnell on the logo. It takes several minutes to download (click here for the document) but is worth every second. Here are some snapshots of the doc -- click on them to open them up at full size.

First, note the astonishing amount of whitespace. We're clearly in for something that prizes form over substance here, but it's so much more egregious than that.

Arnell calls its effort "Breathtaking," and introduces its work with this brand-equity pop-psychobabble:
The vocabulary of truth and simplicity is a reoccurring phenomena in the brand's history. It communicates the brand in a timeless manner and with an expression of clarity. Pepsi BREATHTAKING builds on this knowledge. True innovation always begins by investigating the historic path. Going back-to-the-roots moves the brand forward as it changes the trajectory of the future.
"Going back-to-the-roots moves the brand forward as it changes the trajectory of the future"! What? Remember, Pepsi paid $1 million for this.

Page 6 of the diagram features a pretentious history of design which links the new Pepsi can to the:
"Hindu tradition of numerical harmony as spatial organizer"
and
"Decartes develops the cartesian coordinate system"
Next, under "Creation of Identity," Arnell proposes that Pepsi's new logo starts with this:
Artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the Golden Ratio, especially in the form of the Golden Rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the Golden Ratio. They believe this proportion to be universally and aesthetically pleasing. The Golden Ratio plays an essential role in human perception of beauty.
The Golden Rectangle. Of course. That's why Pepsi is linked to the Parthenon and the Mona Lisa.

It's also linked to the earth's gravitational field, sun radiation, and its "energy fields are in balance." And if you thought the Pepsi red and blue were just corporate colors that came from the client -- wrong!
The Breathtaking Color Palette is derived using a scientific method of color assignment based on the product's essence and primary features.
It's scientific, so it must be true. The document ends with a discussion of Pepsi's relation to the speed of light. You can't make this up. Or rather, you can -- and Pepsi will pay $1 million for it.

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