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Pepsi’s new tagline: Does it lack power and purpose?

After seven years, Pepsi announced that it will be replacing its “Live For Now” tagline with “For the love of it”. According to the brand, the new tagline was created to “celebrate the pop and fizz of the cola like never before” and the global beverage group said that it hoped to celebrate what the brand stood for – an icon rooted in entertainment. Pepsi, which is a 120 year old brand, said with the new tagline it is proudly asking consumers to o all in for the things they love.

While Pepsi surely seems excited about its new tagline roll out, industry players might have their reservations.  According to Richard Bleasdale, former APAC managing partner of The Observatory said the new tagline is rather “weak and generic”. Stating that the tagline lacks distinctiveness and personality, he explained that the new line did not stand for anything in particular.

Pepsi is a master brand. It has to stand distinctively compared to its competitors, and its brand tagline has to be strong.

To create strong taglines, Bleasdale said that the brand promise has to be closely linked to the consumer insights about the brand. Nike’s iconic tagline “Just do it”, for example, comes off as empowering and directive. This highlights what the brand stands for and its philosophy. For Pepsi, while clearly thought and insight went into the tagline, it was still not powerful-enough.  A tagline is powerful when expressed with purpose and the personality of the brand, he explained.

“Unfortunately, a lot of brands are focused on purpose but only a few look at their personality. Think of a brand as a person. Think of them as people with purpose to a certain extent, and it will be attractive. People with a purpose and personality are always more attractive and more memorable,” he said. With customers now being inundated with brand promises and campaigns daily, Bleasdale recommends that brands scout out a language that is unique and relatable.  When asked about Pepsi’s previous “Live for now” position, Bleasdale said that too was “neither memorable nor ownable”.

It is just generic language and really promises very little.

Andrew Crombie, managing director of Crombie Design’s views were also in line with Bleasdale’s.  Although he did not particularly like either of Pepsi’s old or new taglines, he shared that he much preferred the newer one for “trying” to capture the attitude of individualistic pursuit and passion which is reflected in their efforts to support emergent music. However, he added that the ads were “too passive” to capture the “break out” energy and focus the brand is pushing forward.

“Even well-crafted slogans need considerable budget, repetition and relevant supporting activity to reinforce them in the popular psyche. Pepsi will have to work hard, and be very focussed in building real meaning behind these few new words if they are going to emerge as the rally-cry for their new generation,” he said.

Crombie also said that most of the time, slogans are not remembered. “Everyone will quote the great slogans, but there are very few in the greater scheme of all brands and all marketing communications. I would focus more on creating a more complete brand experience to build real credibility and meaning into the slogan,” he said.

In owning a tagline, Crombie added, the slogans have to promise more than just the product or service it represents. On a technical front, taglines and slogans have to be simple (not necessarily short), resonant in both rhythm and meaning, capture the attitude of the brand or its audience and the uniquely differentiated idea of the brand.

Here’s a list of taglines Crombie deems as relatable:

  • “Just Do it”
  • “Don’t Leave Home Without It”
  • “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”
  • “Got Milk?”
  • “Red Bull Gives You Wings”
  • “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”
  • “I’m Lovin’ it”
  • “Think Different”

How many could you identify?

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