Most consumers probably don't think about the design of their beverage bottles, but for a company like Pepsi, it's all part of a global brand image that the company is constantly tweaking. To that end, Pepsi just unveiled a new bottle for its 16 oz. and 20 oz. beverages, the first redesign those bottles have seen in 16 years. As AdAge notes, the new design features a swirled grip — a new design cue that the company hopes it can use to make its bottle a more effective and iconic marketing tool. While a bottle's shape might sound like a mundane detail best left for designers and marketing departments departments to obsess over, the bottle can be just as effective a branding tool as the logo itself — just take a look at Coca-Cola's iconic "contour bottle" design.
Pepsi's design doesn't quite have the same cachet; as the perennial second-place finisher in the cola wars, the company hasn't had nearly as consistent a brand image as Coke over the years. While Coke's signature red coloring, scripted font, and contoured bottle have been brand highlights for decades, Pepsi's sensibilities are a lot more subject to the whim of design trends (check out its logo from 2003 to 2007, for example). That logo was famously replaced back in 2008, when Pepsi's new, flatter design first attracted attention for its resemblance to the logo used by the Obama presidential campaign.
That attention turned to mocking early in 2009, when a 27-page design document leaked. The "breathtaking design strategy" included some fairly ridiculous claims to justify the ultimately minor changes to Pepsi's logo — the golden ratio, the earth's gravitational field, "a scientific method of color assignment," and the "gravitational pull of Pepsi" were all cited as inspiration and reasons for the change. Here's hoping the design documents behind the new bottle make the rounds sooner than later — we'd imagine there are plenty of well-documented scientific theories to justify the supremacy of the swirled bottle.