PepsiCo Design & Innovation (USA)
Project Title: Near East Rebrand
Client or Class Name: PepsiCo Design & Innovation - design.pepsico.com
Consumers of mainstream grains are looking to add new and interesting dishes to their everyday meals. Because of this, the specialty grains category has seen significant growth and is becoming more relevant these consumers. The goal was to rebrand Near East with a more authentic and worldly story that elevates the brand and taste experience without feeling overwhelming or complicated to prepare. The Near East redesign infuses the brand with elements of storytelling: elevated taste appeal, ease of preparation, brand trust and authenticity, and establishes the brand’s credentials as a source of nutritious grains.
Near East is a brand that exists in both the specialty grains world as well as in the conventional grains aisle. It requires a design language that feels both premium as well as accessible. Rather than promoting a design that speaks to the functionality of providing a family side dish, we sought to change the conversation to an elevated taste experience. The breadth of the portfolio and variety of grains stories required a design that enabled shopability on multiple levels but still allowed Near East to function as a masterbrand.
Previously, Near East had strong appeal with natural consumers but failed to evolve a strong point of difference versus competitors. The opportunity was to create a real step change and re-imagine the brand, its purpose, beliefs, and product proposition. The challenge laid in the repositioning and reimagining of Near East as a culinary curator that brings the world’s flavors to the consumer’s kitchen. The resulting strategy led to a full re-appraisal of the brand, turning it from a simple meal alternative to a sophisticated, yet convenient taste experience.
A lack of brand equity recognition, paired with a very functional design, made it clear that there were opportunities to improve the visual language of Near East. To solve for this, we crafted a henna-inspired pattern that radiates from the brand and anchors the story with a global feel and delivers a strong brand block at shelf. Reinforcing the message that Near East is a long-established brand, “since 1962” was embedded into the brand shield. The strategy to enhance appetite appeal was to replace the photography that showcased a family-sized side dish with a more direct macro shot of the delicious grains, reinforced by key ingredients.
The updated Near East is founded in a singular brand design idea, executed across identity and packaging. This establishes Near East as the most inspired natural choice for authentic, easy meal creations. The resulting design demonstrates that Near East isn’t just good for you, it is also alluringly tasty. The worldly henna pattern and differentiated serving style evoke authenticity and strongly appeal to discerning foodies while reinforcing the brand’s appeal to health-conscious consumers.
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