Object 9 Creative Director/Partner Shares His Experience on Package Redesign
A Tale of Two Juices
by Andrew Kaplan
At least it made for good water cooler talk and interesting postings in online forums. Otherwise, there weren’t too many positives that emerged from Tropicana’s misfire with its packaging redesign last year. The brand’s sales certainly took a hit, falling 20 percent between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22. Less than two months later, the redesign was history. So what went wrong? According to some experts, PepsiCo broke a cardinal rule when it went ahead with the redesign by Peter Arnell—it did away with the imagery consumers identified most closely with the brand: the straw in the orange. Seeing the new version on the store shelf, with new fonts and a close-up of juice in a glass left many long-time, loyal consumers simply confused and wondering if this was the same drink.
Talk about the power of imagery!
“This was a prime example of too big a shift and not holding on to what your core attributes were,” says Andy Gutowski, creative director for the Baton Rouge, La., USA-based Object 9.
Adds David Ceradini, president/executive creative director of the New York City-based Ceradini Brand Design, “I think any brand needs to stay current, without losing a sense of its history, where it’s been, and its credentials. Tropicana I think suffered from a couple of different things. One was its nomenclature system or flavor color-coding just didn’t work. And I think consumer frustration was a big part of that in not being able to find their juice with pulp.”
Tropicana’s chief competitor, Coke’s Minute Maid, took its turn at a redesign this past November with what is widely agreed to be a much more successful result. The strategic direction for the new visual identity system was developed internally at Coke, and execution of the designs was created in partnership with the Minneapolis-based design firm Duffy & Partners as well as CMA Brand Presence of Houston. The new packaging plays up the freshness of the fruit within featuring an orange slice sitting atop whole fruits. The brand identity is strong and dominant. Beneath that, a vertical swath of color with the fruit variety appears. At the bottom of the front panel, a green vertical bar states: “100% Pure Squeezed Orange Juice.”
“It’s a beautiful update to the package, a nice evolution,” says Gutowski. “The logo is still predominantly a black shape with the white type to make sure consumers can still identify it, something of major importance. While it’s now more sophisticated, it’s also consistent across all the brands.”
Ted Mininni, president of Marlton, N.J., USA-based Design Force, Inc., agrees, calling it, “A good example of a sound packaging refresh. While contemporizing the packaging, Minute Maid marketers tested package designs with consumers for nearly two years, identifying those key equity cues they shouldn’t change. In other words, the specific heritage elements about the packaging consumers quickly recognized and trusted were not to be altered,” he says.
“Putting the focus on the considerable equities of the Minute Maid brand and freshly squeezed 100% fruit should work for Coca-Cola. The new design has stronger shelf appeal while communicating the product’s key assets, as well as each variety, simply and cleanly.
“Basically,” he continues, “the line is better segmented so consumers can find their favorite variety more quickly and easily. The contemporized packaging is stronger, fresher and more vibrant, while all of the heritage cues remain. Perfect!”
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