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Pepsi: Breathtaking Design Strategy (2008) [pdf] (files.wordpress.com)
391 points by Jimmc414 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 257 comments

PepsiCo Inc (PEP, Nasdaq) isn't merely a beverage company - as explained in this strategy document - it is a space company. The Pepsi Universe, with respect to its 8 light year characteristic length, reflects the scale of the total addressable market (TAM) that PepsiCo can expand into.

Noted short-seller and equity valuation skeptic Jim Chanos once described the TAM of space companies as infinite, because space itself is infinite. This pessimistic take anchors our low-end fair value estimate of PEP to $infinity / share. Since PEP currently trades at around $170 / share, we believe there is considerable upside to the long term buy and hold investor.

i'd like to have whatever the author of this document is having

This is good stuff, you can't make it up.

It looks like lots was going on at the Arnell group at this time. In this article it even quotes Arnell as saying this work for Pepsi in OP as "Bullshit"


You can't make this stuff up

Quote from the article about the "Breathtaking Design Strategy" document:

> February 2009: Arnell sold Pepsi a pretentious, mostly made-up brand ideology document linking Pepsi to the Mona Lisa, De[s]cartes and Hinduism, as part of a successful logo redesign. Price: $1 million, reportedly.

Well if I pay someone 1 million $ to redesign a logo... It better comes with some life changing philosophy

Well the end of it mentions the “gravitational pull of Pepsi” .it has some life changing physics at least

The amount of media coverage they've had since (we're still posting about it 14 years later...) makes that $1m a bit of a bargain.

Quite possibly that is coke.

They're required to call it "nose candy" when they work on the PepsiCo account. /s

Looks like you'll be having a Pepsi.

I've been calling it Pepsi Logo Kool-Aid.

I imagine Pepsi's corporate culture LOVES this stuff. They must drink it up like, well....

I'm inspired by Jello Biafra's H2K2 keynote where he brought along a vinyl record of corporate training songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foFCd5xOrh0

Check it out @ 2:11:28 ; the crowd goes wild for Pepsi:

"Out there It's a Pepsi universe Thriving since time began

On a steady course At a steady pace Bringing pleasure everywhere All through time and space

And up here In the Pepsi enterprise We have one perfect plan: To bring Pepsi refreshment to all constellations

And if anyone can succeed We know we can It's all there on history's pages One refreshment through the ages

[Spoken] Pepsi is the universal refreshment, but has it always been that way, Professor? [Spoken] As far as I can remember.

We're proud that the Pepsi enterprise Never, ever stands still 'Cause the company's working Side by side with our bottlers And if anyone can succeed We know we WILL! "

Imagine trying to conquer space when you can't even conquer Coca-Cola!

Remember that John Sculley has been the only one who could. Kinda. Sculley invented the Pepsi Challenge, (and infamously failed it on camera) signed Michael Jackson to promote and went off to Cupertino and did some interesting things there too. But Coca-Cola Company had Michael Bay and still does. If you're dealing in visual impact imagination Michael Bay's a trump card.

The document broke my BS detector; the needled appears to be stuck in the red.

you missed a chance here by using "pepsimistic"

It will also take infinite time unfortunately

I don't think the title prepared me for this. I saw the first page and thought "oh, that's a terrible graphic, why are you moving away from the future". the mona lisa and taijitsu symbol seemed a bit over blown but still sorta grounded. I literally burst out laughing when I saw the contour lines and energy fields. Definitely was not prepared for "Pepsi Universe", either. I assume that by that point in the presentation the energy in the board room must be fever pitch for no one to point out how stupid that looks.

Edit: Upon further reading about the guy who's behind this, Peter Arnell, it turns out he's possibly the harvey weinstein of the marketing business[^1]. It's a huge shame that neither this pseudointellectual bullshit, nor his string of workplace abuses, ruined his career. A consolation is that in 2011 his company got bought out and he got sacked.

[^1]: The Newsweek article is a good read here: https://www.newsweek.com/crazy-genius-brand-guru-peter-arnel.... There's also a Gawker piece that gives a pretty clear idea of how big of a piece of shit this guy is if you can stand the fact that it's Gawker: https://www.gawker.com/244608/new-yorks-worst-bosses-peter-a...

> In pre-publicity for Shift, Arnell reveals that his habit of eating up to 50 oranges a day has left his hands bright orange in color.

Bullshit. You'd be in a permanent sugar rush until your pancreas went on fire.

I don't know about Arnell's case, but it's actually possible to turn orange by eating orange things. Although I think it's more common with carrots and young children.


I’ve eaten heaps of young children and I haven’t turned orange. /JK

That’s how flamingos turn pink.

Humans occasionally turn permanently blue by being pranked into eating colloidal silver.

No problem they'll just drink bleach to correct it.

Not even that difficult.

My ex had a few excessive habits when she was 21, but one was eating lots of carrots (like a bag a day?) and her palms turned a distinct orange.

There's no such thing as a "sugar rush".

> if you can stand the fact that it's Gawker

That's a tall order. How about I just take your word for it?

And how is that site still I existence?

Gawker was bought during bankruptcy. I don’t think there was any new content for many years.

Since Weinstein was mentioned, I have to admit I read Gawker and therefore was not surprised when hearing the allegations against him in the broader media because Gawker had been writing about him for years. They made some big, obviously embarrassing decisions (especially Denton’s stance on outing people), but imo got it right much more often than they got things wrong.

Gawker being terrible is a given, but they actually produced some good longform stuff for a while; so it's probably a good read.

>Once he freaked out in a meeting because a CD did not work in the CD player, so he took the CD out and smashed it in to pieces on the conference room table. The IT guy , who was standing behind him, ended up going to the hospital because the shards from the CD flew into his eyes

Did the author of this article ever try breaking a CD? They don't shatter like that and the shards certainly aren't gonna fly far enough to hit the guy behind you. I guess this is what happens when you report exclusively on gossip.

> try breaking a CD? They don't shatter like that and the shards certainly aren't gonna fly far

We once tried to bend a CD. It took a fair amount of effort but the opposite outer edges almost touched. Lots of small cracks appeared and there was ominous creaking… When pushed a little further, I think the edges did touch first, but for a fraction of a second before ¡CRACK!, the disk did shatter - there were two large parts (the outer quarters by width, approximately) remaining, a few other chunks, and the rest was a cloud of small parts liberally sprayed around the room. We were finding them for months afterwards, and some were sharply pointed. Even without a sharp point such a fragment would cause significant irritation if in contact with the eye just like any large particulate, and I certainly wouldn't want bits hitting the eye at the speed they must have been moving to spread as far as they did.

While the smashing-CD-on-the-table is very obviously apocryphal, perhaps holding one side on the edge of the desk and impacting the other with significant momentum (with a hammer?), or perhaps wedging it in place & kicking, could result in a snap what would also spray matter like this?

Also, if that sentence is meaning he smashed the CD player on the desk rather than the disk then I can certainly imagine small parts flying around, if only bits from the plastic casing.

Having once found myself in a room with a hard tile floor, sound-dampening paneling, and a very large stack of old CD-ROMs that were to be thrown away, I can assure you that if you work on your technique over a few dozen iterations, you can reliably get them to shatter very nicely into little bitty shards.

The whole CD doesn't shatter, but the edges of the break do. To see this effect on steroids, put a CD through a shredder: a common security procedure. You're playing Russian Roulette with your eyeballs if you don't wear eye protection when doing this.

What on earth are you doing that's causing this? I've never seen a shredded do anything other than chop a CD into little strips.

I personally broke many CDs, it's kinda hard to do but when they snap small bits from broken edges fly off everywhere. I even saw CD that broke inside of drive. Granted it was put in with a crack in the middle but still it broke. Maybe it's just my feeling but I think that CDs back in the days was made out of a bit less flexible, ticker and more brittle plastic. Those produced today I can bend in half and they don't snap as easily as 20 years ago

It sounds like you, and the people replying to you, haven’t broken enough different CDs in different ways to be aware that there are many different ways they can shatter. Some are more rigid than others and will shatter hard and you can absolutely lose an eye.

I sense ambiguity in the sentence: "a CD did not work in the CD player, so he took the CD out and smashed it in to pieces"

Did he smash the CD or the CD player? What was "it"?

I used to break cds into a plastic bag because of all the little pieces that go flying around and difficult to clean up.

Worth mentioning that this is the same design company that blew $35MM on a terrible redesign of Tropicana Orange Juice, which they reverted back within a couple days (but kept the mock orange cap)


Their new design was just yet another example of how the currently in vogue "minimalism everywhere" design aesthetic sucks. The Tropicana case study is such a great example because the effects were so drastic, but only really because there were easily substituted goods - consumers basically thought the carton was just "generic store brand OJ".

My guess is that other recent brand redesigns to this boring, same, sans-serif minimalist aesthetic (recent HN article, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32040506) are just as bad, but with "stickier" products (people aren't likely to leave Google or Facebook just because the typography is shittier) the downside is less noticeable.

On that subject, https://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/ tracks the desecration of all these once colorful, beautiful, expressive logos into this new bland style that's in vogue.

Years and years ago we used to have a supermarket here called Kwik-Save (here been the UK) and they had a range called No-Frills.

Their packaging was absolutely genius because it instantly stood out on every shelf.


Other than the font it seems like everyone wants to got that way, of course if you move with the crowd you can't stand out from it.

Saying that this guy's designs were terrible therefore all modern design is terrible is like saying all children's TV presenters are pedophiles (apologies I know that's an extreme analogy).

The truth is that the guy behind this design agency is not a good designer at all and his career seems to have been driven by confidence, greed and the incompetence of his clients. It's a sample of one. He's the Jimmy Saville of bad design

Which is why I linked the related recent HN post about tons of different brands, across tech and fashion, that wiped out any trace of their individuality for bold, sans-serif logos.

I agree, I think this designer is just a particularly shitty designer, but he's a shitty designer that's just copying the broader trend of minimalist design laziness. I think the last section in that linked HN article (https://velvetshark.com/articles/why-do-brands-change-their-...) perfectly points out what went wrong in the Tropicana redesign as well:

> There’s nothing bad in wanting your logo to look simpler, better, mobile-ready, or universal enough to appeal to the broadest possible audience.

> But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

> Shoot for simplicity and legibility, but keep your distinguishing features. Don’t throw away what the brand has been working on for decades.

> Otherwise, you may end up in a situation where you could slap any logo on any product and hardly anyone would notice a difference:

Thinking the same. They've made some fatal mistakes there. Heck of a lesson for the agency there :D

I don’t know how management allowed them to kill the metaphor of the straw tapping an orange. It’s a good metaphor for the product's “fresh” marketing message (putting aside the “flavor packets” thing.

The one thing I think the new design had right was the lighter green for the type. That’s about it.

The straw in orange is also a fun and friendly image, without going overboard. It invites people to "solve" the visual equation. Straw + orange = fresh juice. A clever design for young and old. Amazing they replaced it with a boring glass of OJ.

Replacing the horizontal convex "Tropicana" with the straight vertical and using a more serious font, was another blunder.

They probably just got lost in many design reviews. At the end they couln't "see" the designs anymore. Also their test group was probably biased: They probably used the same guys to review all design iterations, so their opinion developed along with each iteration.

The lid really is great. But yeah that's a drastic change (new logo, new typography, new slogan, new image, new lid). They always have to throw the baby with the bath water and be radically modern with every detail.

Reddit's new design went heavy on modern/JS styling and not the raw simple HN-style text-heavy interface. They should have focused on loading the links->comments, pictures, video as quick as possible. They got the comments page to load async but video is broken and RES plugin does inline image/video loading way better. Everything else is a step back or sideways.

Tangentially Reddit seems determined to make me stop visiting it. When they finally kill old. I won't anymore. The new reddit mobile web experience is incoherent, I get that they're pushing the app but no thanks.

I see it is a feature – the mobile web experience is just bad enough to not get sucked in too much.

Came across a thread yesterday on Reddit on how ads on Reddit can now be no longer downvoted. That's an indication of where they are headed and who they prioritise ...

Try third party clients like infinity.They are better in these things.

The mobile app notifies me of a new comment, and I have to exit the app and reopen it to see the comment.

Not so sure about the lid: if this is indeed a true quality product leading the market, why does it need this gimmick? You'd rather expect a basic, functional statement. Together with the nondescript sans-serif type, this gives the appeal of a me-too product that would want such a gimmick in order to raise awareness.

And guess who did the new Tropicana design?

You guessed it. Arnell Group that did the new Pepsi logo.

"The campaign, which carries the theme “Squeeze it’s a natural,” was created by Arnell in New York, part of the Omnicom Group. Arnell also created the new version of the Tropicana packaging.

“Tropicana is doing exactly what they should be doing,” Peter Arnell, chairman and chief creative officer at Arnell, said in a separate telephone interview on Friday.

“I’m incredibly surprised by the reaction,” he added, referring to the complaints about his agency’s design work, but “I’m glad Tropicana is getting this kind of attention.”

Full article about the botched campaign: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/business/media/23adcol.ht...

Tropicana was also owned by Pepsi at the time.

I see high level design docs like this on occasion. I decided I am not qualified to comment, but my opinion is very polar. Either it is all a very expensive pile of poop or brilliance and design beyond my understanding. When looked upon at a distance I cannot discern which opinion is correct.

As far as I can tell marketing is a very expensive pile of poop used to dress up some uncomfortable underlying truths about very real and unfortunate vulnerabilities we have as humans. It's also one of the few places where artists can reliably make money.

The result is that a lot of creative and talented people are putting out some beautiful, powerful, and entertaining works which are ultimately used to lie and to psychologically manipulate the masses in order to shape their views and extract money from them.

I always heard that advertising is the dark side of psychology, but you've convinced me that it's also the dark side of art!

I'm wholly in favour of artists getting paid work, but isn't there a vastly inefficient layer of design 'consultancy' that sits in between them, effectively wasting money to turn out bullshit for corporate bullshit (mostly marketing) departments?

How many more artists could be paid and paid more by cutting out the bullshit merchants both inside and outside companies?

But what would you pay them to do?

It's the first one.

The vast majority of this strategy document is ridiculous drivel, written to sound profound but conveying no meaning. One early tipoff is the nonsensical timeline on page 6 -- it's basically just rattling off random bits of art history with no relation to the brand or the proposed strategy.

I'm guessing the guy who made this spent years working for an art degree, getting shackled with decades of debt in the process, only to find that it's nearly impossible to get work as an artist doing anything meaningful so he had to get a shitty 9-5 at a marketing firm and while his dreams of being a true artist have been crushed years ago he just wanted to do something with even just a little of what he learned while studying what he loved.

I would say it looks more like it was produced by someone who studied architecture/design, and had fun exploring the aesthetics of Pepsi as a brand.

This Pepsi redesign is just particularly (spectacularly) bad. There are plenty of brand briefs which are intelligent, strategic and grounded in reality.

English Premier League had a fantastic rebrand: where they selected a nice color set that stood out (it was "their" color set), new font, new visual style guide including new animations, new logo (that causes some controversy but it prints well). They also made a piece of music that makes you feel that you just watched something great/fantastic/historic - even if the match itself wasnt good.

Most of the time modernizing the logotypes and fonts to make them simpler does not work, but here someone came with a coherent strategy that simply looks good and is distinct enough.



Wait so this was real?

$35 million dollars for a package redesign... and they say governments are inefficient...

Always a classic, and it never fails to make me laugh when I scroll through the smiley face section. Impossible to unsee: https://www.cannotunsee.net/post/730928004/pepsi/amp

I was also thinking of the same thing, which goes to show how great a work of culture jamming[1] it is.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_jamming “Tactics include editing company logos to critique the respective companies, products or concepts they represent[...]”

AdBusters is great for this[1]

1. https://www.adbusters.org/

Kind of reminds me of Strong Sad.

Anybody else see a resemblance to the awful Microsoft Teams emojis?

despite how silly this may seem to many in the HN audience, I will contend that:

if you were running a multi-billion dollar sugar water company whose main moat is the brand, and spent hundreds of millions on ads each year as one of the key line items in the budget, you too would want this level of sophistication and thought put into a brand refresh. Probably even more.

And you can imagine that this document was debated for weeks or months by the highest level executives as well as whole departments of marketers. They probably had multiple documents like this from multiple agencies. With that level of internal debate, all the granular side-by-side process diagrams are a necessary part of the UX here, to guide along the audience that only sees the pdf and can't talk to the agency designers.

LOL, this is not "sophistication", this is bullshit.

A million(s?) dollar study for a global brand is justified by things like:

  * Research to see if the brand logos/names are misunderstood or offensive for a particular market/culture.

  * Research regarding brand recognition before/after the proposed changes.

  * A lot of design/thought behind how the brand will look in the many communication channels/products that it owns.
There's nothing even close to that in this document. Actually, the first time I saw it posted I thought it was a joke from some internet troll, but no, it turned out to be the real thing.

It’s a now legendary document designed to promote Pepsi’s brand. They nailed it. That other stuff was covered in another document.

So, first of all, was this document actually meant for public consumption like you suggest?

Second of all, do you actually think anyone who reads this document will associate positive feelings with Pepsi?

All it's making me think is "Man, those Coke ads with the polar bears were pretty cool."

It doesnt matter. It’s all freestyling. All the wild bullshit in the document is there because some pepsi execs reacted to it positively so they went all in on that. Then the document becomes infamous so they will say it was purposely nuts and use it for their own marketing.

These things are done for the execs not consumers. Same goes for Tropicana.

I don't think so. My visceral reaction was: SMH, this is why I stick with Coke.

Why are you promoting the Coca Cola Company? I assume you're not paid to do so

Yes, they paid him to promote Coke on HN comment section.

> Research to see if the brand logos/names are misunderstood or offensive for a particular market/culture.

Can verify this is highly important. E.g. using the letters 'Af' as a prefix for a product marketed in Africa. Turns out that is a very offensive word.


Here’s how I believe it works:

1. A link is posted to HN whose content can easily be made fun of, because it appears bizarre without context.

2. People on HN jump at the opportunity to make fun of said link so they have something to take a dump on. It’s a wonderful ego-trip. They cannot get enough of it. Most of those who do not need the ego-trip to feel better about themselves usually move along without comment.

3. Comments like yours which are trying to be curious instead of mocking are “raining on their party”, i.e., ruining their ego-trip.

4. Instead of engaging with you on a level of thoughtful discussion, i.e., “let’s explore why such a bizarre document exists instead of just mocking it because there is nothing to be gained by doing that”, such commenters are more than happy to take a dump on your comment too.

Instead of engaging with your comment in its entirety, they will nit pick on the fact that your comment features the word “sophisticated” and base their entire response on that. Anything to keep the ego-trip and judgement going.

In general you might be right. But let’s be honest – in this case, despite any amount of context, respect, critical thinking or benefit of the doubt, the content of the link is still just stupid. No way around it.

Now granted, there’s a lot of ignorance, also in this thread, as to why companies develop elaborate philosophies behind their brands to an extent which seems far-fetched for the average person. But it’s also true that in the marketing field, especially on the higher levels, it’s really easy to start bullshitting. And this document is not only a great example of this, it’s an example dialed up to 11.

I agree with you that content which is presented “to be laughed at” inherently spawns some degree of non-productive, toxic discussion. But I also believe that we should never not call out bullshit when we see it.

Yes, we are in agreement.

But are you? He contradicted you on a number of points.

And if this wasn’t spot on already: those taking a dump do so with the most recent design critique that most resonated on HN, hence the dozen or so comments I found on my way to this one bemoaning “sans serif” as if it’s some newfangled design trend and not the font style they’ve most commonly encountered on screen for 30 years.

I agree that brand and marketing is of paramount importance here. But to say this is sophisticated and well-thought is a stretch. It's funny precisely for its lack of sophistication, for how many millions of dollars and countless hours were spent creating something that lacks real value, that's crafted together with the well-meaning exuberance of a teenager trying to look "deep" or earn brownie points.

I think the sophistication is lacking in the criticisms voiced in the comments.

Regardless of the excessive & laughable b.s. factor of this high level design concept document, the proposal meets its brief: design a rebranding strategy that can be used in 2d, 3d, kiosks, blah, etc. as required, without each needing their own design proposal.

So this designer latched onto geometric features of original pepsi logos, extracted some pattern, adjusted the sizing using golden ratio (thus the art history tour), and then went on to apply it to various use cases.

So maybe the design sucks, or possibly you can think of a more sophisticated approach to providing what is effectively a meta-design for a product suite, but this fairly simple approach that is proposed can in fact satisfy the design brief, in a fairly simple manner. Simple is good, right?

> fairly simple approach

I think we can all agree this PDF goes out of its way to convince the reader that it's anything but simple.

- Pepsi DNA

- Pepsi Energy Fields

- The Pepsi Universe

It's all gold, to be honest. I love this document.

You could say that about anything that looks silly. At some point you gotta actually just say outright and unequivocally that something is silly. If this logo redesign wasn't absurd, nothing is.

Exactly. The above commenter is saying a lot of effort went into this. I don't think anybody would disagree.

It's just that the effort is making something completely ridiculous

I always fall back to the Dropbox show and tell post on HN and the iPod is lame slashdot meme as a point to everyone on my team because it reinforces that the building part is just one aspect of a business.

I can laugh at this as agency nonsense with the rest of the crowd, and I think some of it may be warranted. But, it is still ultimately how business works insofar as brand matters, small tweaks to brand can have huge ripple effects; mightily so when the product is the brand, and disregarding anything brand or marketing related is foolhardy.

It’s not the level of effort that’s weird, it’s the terrible output despite the level of effort.

And the unsettling question: is this terrible output actually good? Do I just not have what it takes to recognize great sugar water salesmanship?

My question is, bullshit aside, can we measure how effective this new logo was for Pepsi? Did it have any effect at all?

The stock has been on a tear since then, so there's that. Hard to say what all the inputs were, but it didn't hurt, at least, observationally.

Something tells me the HN crowd wouldn't be looking to invest in whether the "Pepsi Energy Fields" are "symmetrical" and "in balance."

I agree though that the HN crowd as a CEO would want lots of effort to study how to make the most recognizable and liked brand.

Gravitational. Pull. Of. Pepsi.

>you too would want this level of sophistication and thought put into a brand refresh. Probably even more

Yes "sophistication, data-science, a/b testing, consumer science(the real type)". None of that is in the pdf.

Nearly agree -- you would want the level of sophistication that this pretends to have. That it tricked management into thinking it has? (pretty damning if so)

Any rational individual can see this is chicanery of the highest level. It takes an entire committee to be able to rationalize away the absurdity.

I agree that design is far more complicated than most developers realize, but I'd be careful to avoid mistaking detailed explanations for accurate explanations, and heavily discussed topics for usefully discussed topics.

Most of my BFA is in graphic design and it's not my only art and design education, so I'm pretty well-versed in artsy fartsy Bauhausian high-concept visual communication. From the very first days as a Freshmen you start with exercises like finding as many ways as you can to create a palpable sense of tension with only two black squares on a white background by changing the scale and placement, or making two identically colored swatches look like two different colors by placing them on a field of a different color. Professors deliberately don't give you a set guidelines in these exercises because the artistic roots of design don't work that way— you have to understand the way visual components work together on a visceral level before you can effectively reason about them... even pretty straightforward things like effectively setting paragraphs of text or kerning letters can be pretty nebulous, and that's much more straightforward than at abstract logo design.

Could you imagine the pressure of being the art director wielding those nebulous and subjective processes revamp a worldwide household name in one of the most image-focused markets to ever exist? Or being the executive with zero domain knowledge tasked with evaluating the work of this firm? And while the early parts of the process can be subjective, there are vastly more wrong answers than right ones when it comes time to reveal your final product.

This tension means selling your vision is just as much a part of the design process as creating it, and that's a tough job. Check out this 27 minute long pitch film legendary designer Saul Bass made to sell his rebranding of Ma Bell:


That was a huge initiative and it required a lot of explanation— not just explanation of individual decisions and the reasoning behind them, but explaining how he saw the context of the company, all its individual parts, and how people perceived them before deciding how he was going to affect the changes he was hired to affect. But it's all very, very digestible because he's a designer and that's what designers do. They figure out how to take complex or nebulous ideas and concepts and efficiently and effectively communicate them (usually) visually.

And while some of this breathless report makes good sense, much is far from digestible. Parts of it brought to mind this famous Francis Ford Coppola quote:

"We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane."

It dabbles in bits of knowledge most folks would consider obscure, presents not-obviously-useful conclusions based on them and then wraps the whole burrito up in a cloak of grandiosity. I mean, when someone places the theoretical framework of a corporate identity revamp on a timeline with some of humanity's most significant achievements, you better strap on your bullshit-proof vest. It seems more designed to make readers feel insecure about not connecting the dots (or maybe zillions of circles) and therefore less likely to confidently push back. I'm really not sure how else the assertion that a circle trisected by two very deliberately placed, but relatively straightforward lines could even subconsciously conceptually intersect with the earth's magnetic field. 90% of that study of perimeter oscillations was psuedo-analytical pointless bullshit.

This sort of thing annoys the hell out of me because it reinforces the view of design as entirely subjective fluff propped up with bullshit when most professional design is actually pretty well reasoned.

Pepsi. Universe.

They were supposed to make on field consumer tests - by showing them the new logotype.

Consumer research existed long before IT started A/B testing everything.

If I dump ten pounds of Lego on your desk, that’s not sophistication.

Depends on how much you charge.

In a right context, it very well could be.

they lost me at pepsi universe

So they had you right up to the end!

It’s interesting to contrast this with the same company that had the awareness to recognize that basically no one ever types out “Mountain Dew” in its entirety and adopted the _de facto_ name it had acquired in the new millennium: mtn dew.

No Pepsi Boson. I left disappointed.

Metrics to drive up numbers are the way forward. You need to test theories and prove them with data and experiments. THIS is what is expected in a report; and I see nothing I expect in this report.

Everything you see here is NOT sophistication. It has no science it's just an illusion.

The use of geometry and technical jargon gives the illusion of legitimacy however this stuff is no more legit then the word 'science' in 'scientology'. Which means that exactly like scientology, the content is illegitimate but borrows vocabulary from legitimate fields like "science" to make it seem real.

The use of analogies like DNA help people form connections with irrelevant things and these analogies don't actually communicate any new information. They serve to create a feeling of catharsis when you realize that there is a connection, but the connection is actually worthless. You learn nothing new.

Take the analogy: "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." The quote is worthless. You already know life is random. You already know chocolate boxes are random. A comparison is made and a new connection is formed in your brain. But is there actually any new information here? No. It's a trick to make you think the quote is profound when it is really a bunch of mundane stuff you already know.

You've been bamboozled, along with every exec that fell for this report. Possibly the person who wrote this report tricked himself as well.

Maybe this is a generational thing, but the idea of not knowing what you’ll get in a box of chocolate is an entirely foreign notion to me.

Never had favourites, quality street or roses? Maybe these are only in the UK? You know what you could get, but not how many of each type.

Yes, though I get the feeling that being uncertain about the precise quantum of caramels versus mint cremes isn't exactly the point Forrest Gump was trying to make.

(And though I have absolutely no idea, one might suspect that modern boxes of supermarket chocolate are assembled by machine and all contain a constant, predetermined number of each type.)

It's from the US. Sees candy boxes are loaded with random chocolates and you won't know what the chocolates contain until you put one in your mouth.

The quote was made famous by an old US movie starring Tom Hanks. The movie is called Forrest Gump. Fittingly, the character who said that quote is mentally challenged.


Yes, I saw Forrest Gump when it was in cinemas. I do understand the theoretical concept of a boutique, hand-selected tray of chocolates which one cannot guess until after they're opened. It's just not something I've personally experienced.

The song inspired by this document: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAG7pye0V1g&t=1s

See also https://youtu.be/fu3ETgAvQrw which I believe is the official video to go with the song

The diagram of the Pepsi bottles (p7) reminds me of the classic computer art from 1968: "Running Cola is Africa", which interpolated between a runner, a cola bottle, and Africa. It was implemented in FORTRAN running on an IBM 7090 mainframe, and printed on a plotter. Maybe a bit tangential, but I've always thought it was an interesting piece of art. Kind of trivial now, but innovative 55 years ago for its use of interpolation to warp images.


The "Creation of Identity: Gravitational Pull" page is always good for a laugh

  Typical Light Path > Typical Shopping Aisle

  Light Path with Gravitational Pull > Gravitational Pull of Pepsi

  Relativity of Space and Time > Pepsi Proposition / Pepsi Aisle

I see bullshit jobs existed in 2008 also.

"a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case."

This is the most elaborate form of BS i have seen to date.

My only take away from this post is that I like the 1962 skeuomorphic Pepsi logo with the bottlecap.

Agreed. Really dig the 1929 and 1962 logos. It seems to just keep going downhill from there.

A long time ago, I ran a creative agency. One day, I realized how my and my colleagues' talents were being used to sell utter bullshit. Closed the business and switched to web-design. In early 2005, I convinced a big local banking tech company to focus on UX and UCD. Started a UX design business. In late 2015, overwhelmed by the infinite need for Dark Patterns by my clients, I killed "the business" again and switched purely to UI and frontend development.

So I guess this is the "progress" we can offer to humanity, pretty pictures and shapes with psychological tricks for corporate speculation and self-validation.

There's very little in this specific document that has anything to do with manipulation besides maybe the manipulation of marketing executives.

Yep, in my view this document falls into category of "Corporate Self-validation".

> BREATHTAKING is a strategy based on the evolution of 5000+ years of shared ideas in design philosophy creating an authentic Constitution of Design. This chart documents the origin and evolution of intellectual property.

Also known as “the circle”.

Credit where credit is due, it takes confidence to make this kind of pitch with a straight face.

Page 6/27: ah yes, the progress is truly inevitable - 3000 years of human ingenuity, starting off with numeric harmony through Euclidian Geometry, the golden proportion, the vitruvian man, Möbius and le Corbusier, all just a mere foreplay for the Big Thing to come around: behold, the tricolor perfecta of black sugared water in a can. what a time to be alive!

Former Pepsi CEO Thomas Rattigan ran Commodore Computer for a bit; former Pepsi President John Sculley ran Apple Computer. So there's a certain link to computing, for some unknown reason

Having been involved in product design at startups & (very) large companies, I can unfortunately say this is what happens at most of the big Co's. Which is why we try to avoid working with large companies and rather partner up with Startups instead.

Story time...

This one time, I was reviewing a design with a client. We were going through this new page design in Figma. In the Zoom meeting, there were people from Marketing (SEO, Social, etc.), Legal, Product managers, developers, and a bunch more of which I don't even know why they joined the meeting.

What happens during those types of meetings is that someone, usually the person highest in rank, puts the following words on the table: "so what do you guys think, thoughts?".

That's where things start to get messy...

In a large corp, when the boss puts that question on the table, people start to feel itchy. They want to say something clever and impress the rest of the team. Automatically their starting point is: this design isn't good and needs my clever input, so I can impress the boss and put my stamp on the project.

The design that was basically approved by the same stakeholders over email, suddenly was getting 'feedback' from left and right.

'Make the font bigger'

'Make the font smaller'

'I don't like the shadows here'

'I really like how Competitor X, does it, can we do something exactly like that'.

I tried pushing back, but it was too late. I was getting swamped in seemingly clever input from people that were just trying to impress the next person.

We went back and designed 2 pages, one we thought was right, and the other one based on all the feedback that people were sharing.

Their CEO went with option 1 luckily, but it wasted a ton of time for no good reason.

Just looking at the PDF, I can imagine the conversations that lead to that 'design strategy'. Large design agencies know how to play this game, don't really care about great design and usually employ great story tellers to sell the idea to clients for big bucks.

I've been in these meetings too, and they're exhausting. At this very moment, I'm trying hard not to be a part of this meeting, even though I have strong opinions that I don't think will be represented by the current lot of attendees.

That said, there's often a component of competitive commentary, but also consider Parkinson's Law of Triviality, a/k/a Bikeshedding:


pepsi. I thought at the time that this 'leaked document' was a brilliant piece of gorilla marketing. It was making an internet meme before they were ubiquitous, and we're still sharing it and laughing about it today. pepsi. contributing to brand omni presence pepsi.

A subversive element is called a guerilla.

It's a loan word from Spanish meaning "little war".

I wonder how much Richard Stallman gets paid to carry a bottle of diet coke everywhere he goes..

What a load of crap. Is this what design boutiques do day in day out?

Can anyone tell me if there is even an iota of meaning in the design process?

I've worked in small and big design shops. When done right, the process should make sense to a layperson, like you're respecting their intelligence.

This Pepsi rebrand farce feels more like The Emperor's New Clothes. My guess, and someone with more knowledge can absolutely correct me, is that whatever agency bid for the job, they knew they were basically milking Pepsi for every penny they could, and it was pure greed. And in order to justify the utterly exorbitant estimate, they pulled so much bullshit out of their asses hoping to completely overwhelm the clients and utterly baffle and confuse them and make them feel too stupid to even ask about anything.

Basically, design process should make sense and be understandable to the average empathetic, intelligent business owners.

    When done right, the process should make sense to a layperson
Yes, absolutely. A company I worked for paid big money for a design firm to do a brand makeover.

The head of the design firm cautioned our CEO: "If we do this right, the result will not be mindblowing to you. In fact, your reaction might be 'duh - that's really obvious.' Because you already know who you are."


I really liked that sentiment. I thought that company did a great job, both on the brand identity itself and on the communication.

Having done some identity work, some stuff is done on purpose and some stuff is justified post-hoc to make the pitch better.

“It looks nice” doesn’t play all that well, and doesn’t give you much protection from a decision maker who (incorrectly) says “I think my idea looks nicer”.

This is not representative of all design experiences though, I’m sure.

It’s a somewhat clever shell script, I believe.

A funny parody song of this presentation by the legendary Neil Cicierega (potter puppet pals, ultimate battle of ultimate destiny, brodyquest, mouth sounds, etc…)


I was shocked to see this down so low. Absolute bop that perfectly outlines this nutcase thinking.

When a marketing company does it for a soft drinks company does it, it gets ridiculed.

When an engineer does it for the design of rollercoasters or boats, it gets praised.


I see little difference of concepts used for the 'fair curve' and those of designing a bottle.

This looks very similar to the deliverables I get from my UX designers. And then I get a $400 bill with “Research on choosing the fonts”, the fonts being Roboto.

This reminded me of a presentation of progress meeting that I once attended.

I left wondering if I was the only one that noticed they'd said and shown nothing at all.

I've never seen this before and I feel like I need to know the story. Is this satire or is it real? And if it's real, was it leaked or something? No way Pepsi would willingly share this with the public lol.

AFAIU this is real, but I contend that it's neither satire or real: it is in fact a marketing operation, and a very successful one.

When this was "leaked" it was discussed for weeks, and you can see it is still discussed more than ten years after the fact.

It's probably been more effective than most of the ad campaigns I can remember.

People get paid a LOT of money to produce a document like what you (might have) had the great joy-in-humor to just read.

This is the canonical video on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmVMh-nT200

Watching mad men for the first time right now, and I feel it. Pepsi universe is going to be the name of my next vaporwave album

This scene lives rent-free in my brain (Kodak pitch, no spoilers): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suRDUFpsHus

Saint Pepsi fan?

A follow-up to the Negativland classic Dispepsi [0]

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispepsi

Woah. This is exactly the type of sampling I've been looking for. This is amazing. Thank you.

Based on a sibling comment[1], it seems that this document is authentic.

I had seen it before (maybe here in HN), but I was convinced that it was a prank.

Can anyone confirm the authenticity of this ?

1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32064781

I am surprised at how most of the comments here are -- I am guessing -- deeply misunderstanding the document.

The document is almost unbelievably over-the-top. I think that it must be an intentional parody of marketing-speak. If you think that it's not, can you offer any evidence in support of your view?

It's 100% real and 100% serious. That's why it is so well known in the design world.

I wonder if your comment exemplifies some corollary to Poe's Law - that someone mistaking real for parody or vice versa will confidently assert their view as obviously correct and challenge others (even if they constitute a seemingly informed majority) to justify their own.

Perhaps my comment does exemplify Poe's Law. But I can't see that it's more likely to exemplify Poe's Law than your own comment. You've offered as much evidence for your interpretation as I have for mine: none.

Obviously there's a lot of nonsense here but the logo is a good one. In a way it's even better than Coca Cola's. I can recognise the logo of both brands instantaneously but Pepsi's is simpler and has no lettering. It's also aesthetically pleasing.

What came first: logo or journey?

I wonder what was created first - the agency creating the new logo (and then backing into the justification for it), or did the justification for it actually come first & that lead the agency down the path to how the logo was ultimately created.

Seems all very post-hoc

I'm not even joking, was this created by someone with schizophrenia or maybe during a manic episode? It reminds me of the connections my ex would make while she was manic. And those absurd connections made their way into her art.

I've been laughing about this for years. I showed it to my graphic designer in 2014. She was delighted and did a small t-shirt run so I have the face on page 23 center row far right printed on a shirt.

I would have been deeply disappointed if that wasn't the face you picked for the shirt. It's a complete capture of the entirety of the document.

When this came out, someone in my dorm made a mock of it on our whiteboard. With a few extra lines, it looks like a fat guy bending over. People always look for a human shape in what they see.

Maybe this proposal is a bit excessive, but Pepsi is a billion++ company, based alsmost entirely on it's brand. They can afford, and expect some reasoning behind their logo design.

Symbolism is all around, in logos, advertising, architecture, etc. Personally I see too many modern designs, even art, merely being 'visually appealing' or 'fashionable', without any reasoning, coherence, references, or anything behind them.

The current Pepsi logo has always reminded me of the SeaMonkey logo:


I was reading and laughing, wondering if HN was taking this seriously. It’s a decent logo IMO (though I think it’s unpopular) but obviously the paper is filled to the brim with complete bullshit, LOL. The Pepsi galaxy at the end is what really got me.

Just use common sense and first principles and you can make a logo. Make sure it doesn’t look like a you-know-what and you’re golden.

They should re-release this PDF as a series of NFTs

This reminds me a lot of Time Cube


Wow. They sure do a lot of work trying to justify a shitty logo. And it worked. Let that be a lesson for us all.

Surprising just how much the logo uses the Golden Ratio in the placement of the geometries [page 19], and generation of the circle sizes [page 20].

Thought experiment: can a logo that heavily uses the Golden Ratio actually look bad? It could be the ultimate 'design for dummies' hack.

I can't help but feel amused and a bit annoyed when designers pretend their work is like a science. Yes color theory and light refraction are science-y topics, but let's face after all if the people who pay you say they want it in red and bolder fonts, you do it.

When they started to talk about the gravitational pull of pepsi I knew they couldn’t be serious

It's like Pepsi had a psychotic break. Don't worry, friend, it happens sometimes.

For me, 1971 Pepsi Geometries: Perimeter Oscillations was peak Pepsi brand.

It kind of makes me sad thinking about all the time and talent and money that went into this with the main purpose of getting people to buy and drink more (unhealthy) colored, carbonated, sugar water.

Breathtaking because of the breathing issues caused by obesity-induced apnea?

It kills you, literally takes the breath away.

Well, people didn't go for the uncolored version, even with the movie tie-in. So unhealthy colored it is. ;p

I actually like Crystal Pepsi when it came out and was sad when it was no longer available.

Well, that's what happens when you make what people want... I guess.

That's a lot of work to get people to drink carbonated sugar water.

Don Draper would have vanished for a year-long bender if he read this

The graphics and correlations look impressive and somewhat convincing..

I'll expose my ignorance here though and say that to this unenlightened, it looks like conjured up bullshit ..

I couldn't decide if this was guerilla marketing at the time and TBH still can't. Has there been other synapse breaking redesign campaigns since?

My favorite Pepsi ad of all time: https://youtu.be/qTaOLr9TTkM

I mean Pepsi sells sugary, carbonated drinks. Never thought they put this much thought into the brand. I thought it was just was looked cool.

This is the most galaxy brain thing I have ever read.

Thing is, the current (2009) Pepsi logo just isn’t very good.

To me, it looks like the fat belly you’re going to end up with if you drink too much Pepsi.

Branding hardly matters any more. If I order Diet Pepsi from Safeway, sometimes they substitute Diet Coke. Which is fine with me.

Breathtakingly classic every time one reads it

"Emotive forces shape the gestalt of the brand identity." story of my life.

"graphic design is my passion"

I left PepsiCo in 2020, they are still eating shit like this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

While we all love to hate on the design document, I actually think the final logo is really good.

The thing I never understood was why Pepsi got into running that airline out of Korea

My god it's full of carbs

Ah! We used to refer to this as "Pepsi's $1M Logo Redesign."

What the hell is this lol

This reminds me of the pseudo science of new age “sacred geometry”

I much prefer the earlier logos with more text and less emojis.

I’d seriously reconsider using Arnell after seeing this.

It looks like the Time Cube guy got a job in advertising.

"The Pepsi ratio is aesthetic geometry" could indeed be lifted from the writings of Earth's Wisest Human.

Ok I'm getting tired of seeing this on HN now

It's as funny today as when I first saw it.

Clearly, the war on drugs has been a failure.

> The Pepsi Ratio is aesthetic geometry.

So you want to go to graphic design school

New band name: Pepsi gravitational field

Somebody had a lot of fun making this.


C'mon man!

It’s pronounced “Bepsi” on the rez.

looks like a whole lot of bullshit

prolly paid millions of dollars for this and there's a typo on pg.18 smh

Most expensive circle ever

they came up with the design first and then the justification :P

really this is a thorough study in upper-management-ese

it is a work of art

Pepsi, Tropicana and the like, and their parent companies, are a direct cause of the Metabolic Syndrome epidemic in (particularly) the US, other former UK colonies, and UK, causing many times the preventable deaths from COVID, year in and year out.

The "cause of death" noted for these cases never mentions metabolic syndrome (variously, fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, processed-food disease), but rather secondary illnesses it drives, most notably high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and circulatory illness. Most of these are products of high uric acid level, itself a byproduct of fructose processing in the liver. Fructose is processed only in the liver, like other toxins, and most similarly to alcohol.

The standard to diagnose high uric acid has risen sharply in recent decades as levels themselves have risen with sugar intake, so people with a deadly uric acid level do not learn of the core problem. They instead are told of the high blood pressure and diabetes, and get medication for that, masking it but not its harms.

We should not be allowing sale of these products; or at least, labels should warn of their fructose content. We could start seeing "contains no fructose!" on packaging, instead of "non-fat". (Because fat, even saturated fat, it now turns out, is harmless.)

(Fructose in normal food, particularly fruit, comes with enough fiber to divert most of the fructose to your gut bacteria. Juice and soda strip away this protection.)

> Most of these are products of high uric acid level

That's a very unsubstantiated claim. I'm not debating the association of hyperuricemia with metabolic syndrome or cardiovascular risk factors, but I don't think we have much evidence to establish a causal link between hyperuricemia and all the morbidities listed.

This is not an RCT nor does it point to one supporting your uric acid claims.

And Lustig is well known, he's on the border of being a crackpot, unfortunately. Mehmet Oz is a professor emeritus of Columbia, and contributed some amazing shit to the field of cardiology, but now he is undoubtedly a crackpot, so just having some credentials and even a good history is not an automatic pass to get out of presenting high-quality scientific methods.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822166/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4078442/

And.. this is not the first time this has come up here even: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15760599

You will have to take up your objections with the endocrinologists. Good luck, though, 'cause endocrinologists are the smartest of all medical doctors. Have to be, to do it at all.

This is a non-response - or do you have a specific cite linking uric acid as causative of diabetes or cardiovascular disease? It can be in a colorectal journal for all I care.

> Have to be, to do it at all.

Lol. Yeah bud, I have a ton of friends that are endocrinologists, all mostly great and intelligent folks, but I’m not letting them touch me with a colonoscope - or pretty much any implement. It’s not exactly a field for the procedurally inclined.

So, ask them. It is their job to know. You have already said you don't trust me.

Be sure to report back what they tell you.

Ignoring who is wrong or right here - you made the claim, it's not very helpful if you refuse to substantiate it or suggest someone else needs to substantiate it for you.

Notably, this person has not reported any results.

Most likely they don't actually know any endocrinologists, or were told that in fact uric acid is known to be the connection between fructose metabolism / fatty liver and metabolic syndrome illnesses.

Some people just feel compelled to jump up and defend sugar anytime it is blamed for illness.

> this person has not reported any results.

Ironic since you are the one making the claim and have not produced any references. I can’t prove they don’t exist but you could easily counter if one did.

Furthermore I linked to one peer reviewed review article, again https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4078442/

that is chock full of balanced references if anyone is so inclined to peruse them and takes a critical examination at the various publications and the arguments can be evaluated solely on merits alone. There is continued research in this area but so far no smoking gun as to causality.

There are no meta-analyses I know of on your specific claim as there is a lack of primary research in human subjects to even substantiate it.

> Most likely they don't actually know any endocrinologists

I’m a practicing academic internist. I know endocrinologists both personally and professionally. This is absolutely irrelevant though as the literature is available for you.

> Some people just feel compelled to jump up and defend sugar

I did nothing of the sort. I treat diabetes and hyperlipidemia on the daily - that would be ridiculous.

Edit: oh and I missed your edit - a reference to Perlmutter? A celebrity neurologist who has widely been debunked for making wildly unsubstantiated claims. You are not arguing in good faith. You have the entirety of PubMed and Google scholar on which to reference peer reviewed literature - some of it is also crap - but you aren’t even doing that - you are sticking to the lowest quality unsubstantiated celebrity bilge.

There is plenty of diabetes and obesity in Australia and we don't use fructose as a sweetener. I'm not sure fructose is necessary.

Table sugar is half fructose. Likewise honey. Agave syrup is much worse, 85%. Mango and pear juice, almost as much.

Grapes, almost uniquely among fruits, have practically no fiber, so are as bad as juice.

The glucose part of sugar is mostly harmless. So we focus on the fructose.

What about diet sodas? Are they equally risky as well? Does the aspartme trigger similar reactions from the body as sugar?


Some people say artificial sweeteners have bad effects on your insulin metabolism because your body reacts to the taste as if a slug of sugar is on its way. But it must be complicated by conditioning; seems like after years of drinking it, the association would weaken.

I don't know of any reliable results on that.

Sure metabolic syndrome is a thing, but can you point to me evidence it is caused by these drinks? I agree re: the metabolic pathways, but yet to be convinced that most of these issues are not primarily caused by obesity.

And sure, drinking enough sugar will result in obesity, but so will eating too much carbs or fat.

Obesity is a separate morbidity. 30% of obese Americans are not actually ill. But 40% of non-obese Americans are sick with metabolic syndrome. So, more than are obese and sick, by the raw numbers. Obesity is a big problem in the US, but metabolic syndrome is a bigger problem, and suffering both is worse than either alone.

Pakistan has as much metabolic syndrome as other former UK colonies, but remarkably little obesity.

Metabolic syndrome is a product of excess fructose in the bloodstream, itself a product of sugar consumed without enough accompanying fiber. Beverages are a particularly concentrated source, but other stuff packaged as food can be as bad.

> But 40% of non-obese Americans are sick with metabolic syndrome.

40% of the non obese adult population in the US? More BS dude.

It should be easy to point to some relatively reputable public health agency or peer reviewed publication where this is substantiated.

Among non overweight individuals I’m going to peg it more around 5%.

Video that covers fructose and uric acid:


This is interesting, would you say the same for other cola and juice manufacturers? E.g. Coca Cola, Snapple, Bolthouse, etc?

During many years, I have been very fat and all attempts of losing weight have failed.

Eventually, I made great changes to what I was eating and I began to weigh everything that I ate, to ensure that I eat no more than planned, and in somewhat less than a year I have lost one third of my previous weight, reaching a normal value.

Previously, I have not been drinking much Pepsi Cola or Coca Cola, but I have been drinking a lot of various fruit juices, all of which contain excessive amounts of sugar.

By far the most effective change in my eating habits, leading to weight loss and better health, has been to stop drinking any other kind of beverage except water and herbal teas without sugar.

Yes, all.

The UK uses sucrose, not fructose though?

Sucrose is hydrolyzed in the gut by the enzyme α-glucosidase into glucose and fructose. Without any other absorptive buffer, it's basically the same.

> it's basically the same

Not really. Fructose is JUST fructose, sucrose is half fructose.

"high fructose" corn syrup--what's typically used to replace sucrose--is 55% fructose, not 100% fructose. IOW, only 5% more fructose. (It can even be less than sucrose, as low as 42%, but for sake of argument 55% seems fair.)

~55%, plus another 50% of the sucrose content once its broken down in the gut, which means it's effectively somewhere around 75% sucrose for the body to break down~

EDIT: nevermind, assumed the rest was sucrose rather than glucose

I'm not following. HFCS is 55% fructose and 45% glucose, not 45% sucrose.

Fair point. I incorrectly assumed the parent was comparing fructose to sucrose directly.

"Basically the same" as fructose and glucose separately.

In soda, the ingredients say sugar, but it has already been dissociated to fructose and glucose in the bottle.

If we’re talking about sugar soft drinks in the US this is invariably HFCS.

There is no point in quibbling.

"High fructose corn syrup" is the same as table sugar, to your body.

So why do people make a big deal out of it, does it just taste bad?

Hipsterism. You cannot trust the taste of anybody who touches either of them.

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