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Comments Posted 02.17.09 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Mark Lamster

Annals of Branding, Redux


The design elves over at Pepsico have been very busy of late, as noted here last week regarding the (awful) new logo for the corporate flagship and the (much hated) new packaging for Tropicana. Pepsi has also renovated its Gatorade brand. Apparently, the word Gatorade is simply too long for the soft drink's target demographic, so the name has been shortened to a rather gnomic "G," a change signaled by a similarly opaque advertising campaign. (Looking for a bottle in the local bodega the other day, I almost couldn't find it.)

Presumably, the change is a response to the growing popularity of competitors Vitamin Water and Powerade, though how losing 7 letters is an effective response is kind of beyond me. Marketing! I remember the first time I had Gatorade. It came in a stiff metal can with a thick seam running along the side and a pull-tab top. I was a kid at summer camp — it must have been around 1980. We were given the drink during inter-camp competitions, days when we'd play sports for hour after hour in the hot sun. Of course, we loved the sweet stuff, which had a metallic taste from its container, and gulped it down. No surprise, I still like it, nevermind the signature nuclear-green color. The TV spots of 2007 banking on the drink's own history and narrated by Keith Jackson were very smart, and capitalized on that nostalgia (the Lovin' Spoonful soundtrack didn't hurt). I guess those days are gone. With a capital G.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture. A contributing editor to Architectural Review, he is currently at work on his third book, a biography of the late architect Philip Johnson. Follow: @marklamster.
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