Pepsi Throwback, Mountain Dew Throwback December 2009 relaunch designs


Good News! As of March 2011, both Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback are permanent additions to the Pepsi lineup!


Read our updated Pepsi Throwback review and updated Mountain Dew Throwback review, both featuring revised designs.


As we've been covering for a while, Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback are returning to the shelves on December 28 for another 8-week limited time run, ending February 22. (Yes, we know… we wish it would return permanently as well!)

New December 2009 designs for Pepsi Throwback, Mountain Dew Throwback
New December 2009 designs for Pepsi Throwback, Mountain Dew Throwback

Pepsi announced that when the Throwbacks return, they will have new packaging, much different than the initial run we saw back in April 2009. It's no secret that we thought that the design choices for Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback were big mistakes from a marketing perspective, especially when one compared the initial rollout versions designed by Arnell Group (the same folks who came up with the new Pepsi logo) against the prototype designs by the folks at Select Design that were leaked on the Internet. (Self-promotional plug… New to the idea of Pepsi and Mountain Dew Throwback? Why not listen to our NPR interview to learn more! OK, end of self-promotion, now back to the review… :) )

All that to say, new designs for the Throwbacks are welcomed, as we think they would greatly help the appeal and buzz regarding these non-high fructose corn syrup drinks. Back in September, we were able to confirm the label design for the Mountain Dew Throwback bottle. Today we're happy to share the rest of the new designs.

Over friends over at Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages have confirmed and provided BevReview with the following images of the rebooted Throwback designs for both bottles and cans. Take a look:

Pepsi Throwback - December 2009 Design
Pepsi Throwback – December 2009 Bottle Design
Pepsi Throwback - December 2009 Design
Pepsi Throwback – December 2009 Can Design
Mountain Dew Throwback - December 2009 Design
Mountain Dew Throwback – December 2009 Bottle Design
Mountain Dew Throwback - December 2009 Design
Mountain Dew Throwback – December 2009 Can Design

Here's a comparison of the Prototype Design, April 2009 Design, and the new December 2009 Design for both Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback:

Pepsi Throwback Comparison: Prototype, April 2009, & December 2009 Designs
Pepsi Throwback Comparison: Prototype, April 2009, & December 2009 Designs

Couple observations, first with the new Pepsi Throwback design. First off, you'll note that the blue that looks too much like the current Pepsi look is long gone. Instead, we've actually gone retro, somewhat in the spirit of the prototype Pepsi Throwback design. The Pepsi logo in the December 2009 version of Throwback sees to be a callback to the 1971 vs. the 1987 version seen on the prototype bottle (note the differences in the "PEPSI" font, especially the way the "E" is crafted).

The logo and branding is now set horizontally instead of vertical and sideways, more in line with standard can design, which was more popular back then vs. the 20 oz. bottles which dominate sales today.

Careful observers will also note a change in the way sugar is described. You'll recall the April 2009 version of Pepsi Throwback referred to the product as "made with natural sugar", however now we have a callout to being "made with real sugar" (just like the prototype originally noted). Of course, the use of this language seems a lot clearer vs. the question of "just what is natural sugar?" If the formula stays the same as has been previously shared, it should still be a combination of cane and beet sugar. Ironically, the use of the "real sugar" line may also prompt potential customers to ask, "so, if this is real sugar, what was the stuff in Pepsi before?" I'm sure the folks over at the Corn Refiners Association would love to answer that question.

Rounding out the new design is a nice yellow callout banner on the retro logo denoting that this product is "Throwback" and available for a "Limited Time Only".

Mountain Dew Throwback Comparison: Prototype, April 2009, & December 2009 Designs
Mountain Dew Throwback Comparison: Prototype, April 2009, & December 2009 Designs

Jumping over to the December 2009 Mountain Dew Throwback redesign, Pepsi is ditching the 'box' logo used throughout the 1970s/80s — that looked VERY similar to Dew that is currently on the shelves. Instead, we jump way back to the mid-1960s with the 'hillbilly' logo that was used along with the tagline, "Ya-Hoo Mountain Dew . It'll tickle your innards." Like the Pepsi logo reboot, this design is also aligned horizontally instead of vertical and sideways as seen in the April 2009 version.

The strong use of white space greatly sets apart the December 2009 Dew Throwback logo from previous versions, including the prototype. It does a nice job of conveying that, "yes, this is a different product… and it's old." Using the hillbilly character along with the "Ya-hooo!" motto also does a nice job of tugging at the nostalgic heartstrings in hopes of selling to a market that might remember such a logo.

Like the new Pepsi Throwback logo, this Dew logo also using the phrase of being "made with real sugar" and "limited time only". Overall, it's a vast improvement over the April 2009 rollout design.

It will be interesting to see if sales and product recognition are improved with these design changes. Our gut is that things will be very positive. Throwback was already a very well accepted product, but either no one knew about it, couldn't find it, or got it confused with existing brands on the shelves. It's almost as if the April 2009 rollout was intentionally handicapped by such horrible package design.

We're big fans of both Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback, so we're looking forward to the December 18 return!

Other Throwback coverage on BevReview.com:

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  1. BevBoard says:

    Pepsi Throwback, Mountain Dew Throwback December 2009 relaunch designs…

    Pepsi announced that when the Throwbacks returned on December 28, they would have new packaging, much different than the initial run we saw back in April 2009. (Translation: Someone over there finall……

  2. [...] like the relaunched Pepsi Throwbacks, this product is branded as featuring "Real [...]

  3. [...] Read our updated Pepsi Throwback review and updated Mountain Dew Throwback review, both featuring revised designs. [...]

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