The Cans Can

Coke or Pepsi? It’s a question that has plagued mankind for generations. Whichever you prefer, one thing is certain: the faces of these two brands have been in a seemingly constant state of change over the past few years. And with the ever-growing number of competitors entering the game on a regular basis, the redesigned packaging is an effective way for the two cola giants to stay relevant, all while waging a never-ending war against one another to see who is the true king of pop.

Late in 2008, Pepsi unveiled their $1.2 billion global rebranding campaign. It had taken three years to complete and included a 27-page rationale that was meant to justify the new look. It has been heralded in the advertising community as one of the worst branding decisions in recent history, and it seems as though Pepsi has been trying ever since to make up for the mistake. They’ve even gone so far as to permanently add Pepsi Throwback (made with real sugar and featuring the old logo) to their line of products, but it may be too little too late.

Coca-Cola, on the other hand, has barely altered their logo since the brand’s inception in 1944. Still, they haven’t been shy about toying with the design of their packaging. They’ve been known to donate space on their cans in an effort to raise awareness about causes like heart disease, and this month, they released limited edition white cans to help save polar bears from a looming extinction.

So, who wore it better? In my opinion, Coke is the winner, hands down. They might as well change it from Classic to Classy because the scarlet-donning soft drink seems ever graceful in these changing times. “The balancing act,” says Allen Adamson, managing director at branding firm Landor, “is how to make sure it always feels authentic.” I believe the pride of Atlanta has achieved that goal, and then some. There’s something to be said for sticking with what has always worked in the past. So, as I sit here, typing this blog and enjoying a nice, refreshing can of Coke, I encourage readers to go out and do the same.

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