Monday, February 9, 2009

Tropicana Abandons Iconic Image

Everyone knows the Tropicana image of the orange with a straw sticking out of it—it's been around forever. I remember as a kid actually trying to stick a straw in an orange and drink orange juice out of it. Seriously. However, on Tropicana's new redesigned orange juice packaging, they've completely scrapped that image! And I really don't understand why. That image has a lot of brand equity. Honestly, if you ask me about orange juices, the orange and straw is the first thing that pops into my head, followed inevitably by the the thought of Tropicana.

Unfortunately it seems Tropicana has scrapped it for what many designers are assessing as rather generic packaging—and I have to agree with them. It's nice generic packaging—it reminds me a bit of the simple and clean designs of Target owned brands—but it's still generic. Notice the new logo as well—also a sad generic version of the old one. Not much more than the word Tropicana set in Futura, dropping any tropic feel that the name or product might suggest for a colder, stoic brand personality.
Tropicana's new redesign isn't just their orange juice packaging, it's all of their juices. The overall effect is cohesive, if repetitive. Unfortunately in this particular case, the cohesive sameness of all of them makes me rely more on finding the text on the carton to get me the specific juice I want rather than a much easier visual cue. According to BrandWeek, Peter Arnell, head of the Arnell Group, the agency that redesigned all this, said:
""It's like having a glass come to your table. It's very elegant. We no longer wanted to work with assets or parts that were not clear to the consumer. They might have identified with the orange and the straw on the old packaging but no one new why it was there."
What? Isn't it there because we identify with it? Because it very elegantly and visually says 100% orange juice straight from the orange without actually having to say those words? Who exactly doesn't know why it's there? In BrandWeek's post Arnell also said:
"No one would ever write an article about Tropicana. Then you get rid of the orange and the straw and the whole world pays attention."
Yes the world paid attention, because the straw and orange is part of the brand. And a good part—people miss it. Update it, tweak it, rejuvenate it, but don't scrap it. I will admit, however, that I am a fan of the new caps. They are very clever, though not enough to make this package redesign a winner

Last year, Pepsi moved Tropicana from Element 79 to Arnell, and I can't say I'm impressed. Arnell is also the agency that brought us Pepsi's brand redesign a few months ago.

(Also see our follow up post: Tropicana's Sales Drop With Redesign?)


Megan said...

Does the cap look like an orange?

Jamey Stegmaier said...

Great post! You might say that the new container is Obama-esque in its clean simplicity. Although the old carton design could have been touched up a little bit, I completely agree that the picture of the orange helps you know what kind of juice you're looking at right away. When I look for my mango-orange-pineapple juice, I look for pictures of those fruits, not the words that describe them.

Christine said...

The cap is like an orange. Apparently you squeeze it and turn—haha!

I have to share a couple of comments I've received via Twitter. A couple people have actually mistakenly purchased Tropicana thinking it was generic!

Megan said...

My mother was at two different grocery stores recently, looking for Tropicana OJ. She said she noticed these cartons but glanced over them, thinking they were generic brand. She'd still be looking for her Tropicana if she hadn't read this post!