What does $1 million and five months buy you? If you're Pepsi, a brand-new logo. And a 27-page rationale chalked full of complete bullshit.
Originally, I thought this widely-circulated document was an elaborate hoax, clever enough to rise to urban legend status in the advertising community. I mean, seriously, what respectable agency rationalizes their work by citing the Earth's geodynamo and magnetic fields? (See below.) Give me a break. A Fortune 500 company like PepsiCo is going to see right through that. Then again, maybe not: turns out this is the real deal. (In fairness, I guess Omnicom's Arnell Group had to justify that outrageous seven-figure price tag somehow!)
Don't get me wrong... in general, I'm a big fan of the written rationale. A good designer will spend the majority of time on a project brainstorming, researching and sketching before putting a single, solid idea down on paper. Sadly, clients rarely get an opportunity to see this painstaking process, hence the importance of a rationale. I'm just saying, maybe the creative team working on the Pepsi account should have stopped at a more plausible explanation for the logo design, like how it represents different emotions – that's really clever!
Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lawerence Yang blogs that "every time I see the logo, I can't help imagining a big belly button in the middle." Touché.