Fast Chat: Diet Pepsi’s Amy Spiridakis on Bringing Style to Soda Cans

Soda giant busy re-shaping bottles and cans, partnering with Target

Headshot of Christopher Heine

PepsiCo was unusually busy on the packaging front last week, unveiling a new shape for Pepsi bottles and announcing limited-edition Diet Pepsi 7.5-ounce cans designed by HGTV star Vern Yip. While the Diet Pepsi mini-cans are available in eight packs for the next couple of months, more importantly, they are defined by a stylish, blue-and-grey print look that features an animated depiction of a peacock.

"This Vern Yip-designed can is perfect to inspire our consumers and give them a bubbly time-out," explained Amy Spiridakis, director of marketing for Diet Pepsi. "As we are in the spring timeframe, where people are really thinking about entertaining and going to gatherings, it seems like the perfect package."

Spiridakis chatted with Adweek this week about packaging strategies, as well as her brand's female-focused "Love Every Sip" 2013 campaign. She also dished on an upcoming program Diet Pepsi is running with Target next month.

Adweek: Since other names were surely thrown around, why did you choose Vern Yip for this initiative?

Amy Spiridakis: First and foremost, he's a beloved personality by our consumers. With his expansive history on TV, he's a designer who really thinks about the consumer, her love of her home and her love of design in general. So he does a great job of focusing on design, but in a way that highlights our product—instead of overshadowing it.

How integral is packaging in the way a brand is perceived?

Packaging is an incredibly important touch point. It really is the consumer's experience with the product—holding the package is critical. I think the Vern Yip design is yet another example of how Pepsi wants to elevate the role of packaging with its products. For Diet Pepsi, this package really connects with the "Love Every Sip" message….It's a fun design, with the color palette that Vern selected.

Does packaging actually affect soda sales?

Definitely. What sits on the shelf draws the consumer's eye. As they look at what brands they have to choose from, [packaging] is definitely a lever that will drive their considerations.

Is there a trend in the beverage industry in terms of giving creative control over to media stars like Pepsi did with Beyoncé Knowles and Diet Pepsi with Vern Yip?

Pepsi has a history of partnering with entertainers in different verticals, whether designers like Vern or musicians like Beyoncé. We really look for those personalities that bring style to consumers and who are very approachable.

Why the peacock for this limited-edition run?

It does a great job of representing confidence, vibrancy, positivity, energy and strength, which are all attributes of our Diet Pepsi consumer. We think it really fits in well with her lifestyle.

Outside of female, can you describe the rest of the demographic for this can design and the larger "Love Every Sip" effort?

It's targeted at females who love home design. It's not so pinpointed around a demo but more a mindset that focuses on enjoying being around others. The home is their anchor point. In May, Target will actually run an exclusive program where consumers who buy Diet Pepsi will get a set of six coasters that have the Vern Yip design printed on them.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.