Logology

The soda giant’s latest imitation project is a relaxation drink that deploys all the millennial branding tricks

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As if LaCroix, Liquid Death, and Topo Chico weren’t enough to keep the beverage aisle exciting, there’s a new water upstart slated to make its way onto supermarket shelves in the first quarter of 2021. And it comes from none other than PepsiCo.

In September, Pepsi announced it would launch a new product called Driftwell, an “enhanced” non-carbonated water beverage containing L-theanine and magnesium that is supposed to aid with sleep, although the company cannot legally make that claim and is left to drop vague hints about “relaxation.” Pepsi’s development of Driftwell stemmed from an internal pitch competition called “The Next Big Idea,” an initiative started last year by chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta to encourage employees and associates to come up with new product concepts and innovations. …

Logology

The music company has succeeded despite its branding, not because of it

A mobile phone screen displays the logo of Spotify in Antalya, Turkey on February 27, 2020.
A mobile phone screen displays the logo of Spotify in Antalya, Turkey on February 27, 2020.
Photo: Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

There is no romantic story behind Spotify’s name.

In a post on the question-and-answer site Quora, Spotify founder Daniel Ek writes that, in 2006, he and co-founder Martin Lorentzon “were sitting in different rooms shouting ideas back and forth… even using jargon generators and stuff,” when Lorentzon shouted a name that Ek misheard as “Spotify.” Ek Googled the name and saw that nobody else was using it. “A few minutes later,” he writes, “we registered the domain names and off we went.”

The story highlights how the founders moved quickly and decisively to capitalize on a bit of luck in establishing their brand. Spotify, though, has succeeded despite its branding, not because of it. Its name and logo sprang from an early 2000s trend (attaching an “-ify” suffix to a word) that hundreds of other companies were following, and as a result exudes a generic blandness that says nothing about, you know, music. …

Logology

A new wave of company logos all include the same three-letter word

A collage of logos including Humboldt, JC Penney, Kangol Vintage, The Shave, Coors Light, and more.
A collage of logos including Humboldt, JC Penney, Kangol Vintage, The Shave, Coors Light, and more.
Images: James I. Bowie

Does your local craft brewery’s logo helpfully inform you that the business was “Est. 2019”? Is the sign outside the trendy coffee shop down the street proud to declare it was “Est. 2016”? Logos declaring the year that a company was founded are gaining rapid popularity. In particular, businesses like these seeking to adopt a hipster aesthetic appear to append an “Est.” to their logos just as often as they use crossed objects or mustaches in their trademarks. Why the sudden popularity of this visual quirk?

In recent years, “Est.” has made quite a comeback, appearing in trademarks at a rate 17 times higher in 2020 than in 1980. …

About

James I. Bowie

Principal at Emblemetric, Sociologist at Northern Arizona University. Data-driven reporting on trends in logo design. www.Emblemetric.com

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