Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Semiotics of Logos - Obama and Pepsi are Lookalikes

As mentioned in a previous post, semiotics is the branch of linguistics that is concerned with the relationship between a sign and what the sign represents. Semiotics also looks at how people interpret the meaning of signs. In semiotics a sign is considered any type of symbol that stands for another thing. By this definition, a product logo would be considered a sign because the logo stands for the product. People are able to interpret this meaning of the sign because they are conditioned to by advertising.

The above three logos have many similarities (color, shape, wavey lines). The logo at the left is the new Pepsi logo, the logo at the right is the old Pepsi logo, and the logo in the middle is a logo from President Obama's campaign.
I wonder if the creator of this Obama logo intentionally imitated the Pepsi logo so people would associate Obama with Pepsi?
The Pepsi brand was trademarked in 1903 and many people think of Pepsi as an American tradition. Obama certainly does not fit the traditional description of an American president...but maybe with a little help from logos and semiotics.


OHN said...

I love the way you see things! It makes me feel like there is someone else out there that picks up on nuances (not a common occurrence in my household;)

Wordslinger said...

I’m not sure about a conscious nod to Pepsi, but Obama’s logo certainly has semiotic appeal. The logo is obviously based on the O of Obama. The blue background represents sky and the stripes of the US flag evoke ploughed fields (representing the country, traditions of self-sufficency and good honest toil). At the centre of the logo is another O, representing the sun rising, suggesting a new dawn for the country: this is the hope of Obama’s message.

McCain’s logo also ties in with his core message: you’ve got the single word (McCain) – written in the same font as that used on the Vietnam Memorial, I think – and above his name you’ve got a military star and two pointed lines. The effect is to call to mind a military bar, and to remind everyone that he is a war hero.

For my money, Obama’s works better though – and I think it works on a number of different levels.

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