Tropicana is one of the most famous fruit juice brands in the world. But in 2009, Tropicana decided to change its packaging from a colorful to a simple design. However, the new design didn’t resonate with customers and Tropicana had to revert to the original package design. What exactly happened? And why? In this blog post we aim to provide some advice on how companies can avoid bad package redesigns through the story of how Tropicana lost over 50 million dollars in a packaging fiasco.
The new design only managed to draw 2,5% of the visual attention to the logo, while the old design attracted 10,8%. That’s a decrease of more than 76% over the original, which means that the new design has significantly less attention on the brand and therefore a lower chance to build that crucial brand association.
2. Understand the connection of consumers with the brand
Tropicana is a long existing brand, which means it has built up a brand identity over time. In this case they moved away from that built up brand identity too much. People who bought Tropicana juice heavily identified with the premium aspect of the brand. The new packaging failed in communicating tropicana as a premium brand and because of this it lost the direct premium association in the minds of the consumers, causing consumers to see the brand as more basic.
Note that this is applicable to successful brands that already have a working formula for their product. If you are in charge of a brand that hasn’t built a strong brand association yet, you firstly need to find a brand formula that works.
3. Role of packaging vs. role of advertising
Packaging is one of the final communication points between the brand and consumer. So for a package it is important to be identifiable and complementable to the overall feeling and positioning of the brand. The new packaging of Tropicana failed to be identifiable and correspond with the rest of the brand.
Communicating new values is better done over a longer period of time, through preferably other means like advertising as you have more time and tools to share a story and emotions than on a package design. It is also more flexible since you have the possibility to make changes more rapidly and to actually validate the suggested changes to your brand identity before pushing it towards the broader audience.