Tag Archives: packaging

PepsiCo Faced the Truth with Tropicana

tropicanaI’m a Coca-Cola guy, but I have to give PepsiCo some mild applause.

When PepsiCo changed the packaging of its Tropicana orange juice, they took a beating.

Designers and brand observers were repulsed by the new design. “Why would PepsiCo mess with one of the best package designs ever?” they asked.

All the criticisms aside, consumers gave PepsiCo the worst beating of all: a 20 percent drop in sales.

PepsiCo initially came out and defended the packaging redesign; however, besieged by the backlash, the company reverted back to the original and much loved straw-in-an-orange design.

I know this is old news, but I think the decision to revert back to the original design has a lesson for all of us. And that is: in branding, we must be prepared to put our egos to the side and face reality.

One might argue PepsiCo had little choice in this packaging debacle, and perhaps that’s right. But it’s not easy to reverse engines, especially when you’ve convinced yourself that the path forward is the right one and invested millions upon millions along the way.

We tend to think we know what’s best for our brands. But in building and managing brands, we need to have a level of objectivity… and we need to be in tune with our loyal customers. I understand this was one of the failings behind the Tropicana packaging redesign: little to no consumer testing.

Despite the firestorm and the millions lost, PepsiCo has at least gained strong confirmation that its Tropicana orange juice brand is well loved.

I mean, really… who knew that people cared so much about the packaging of their orange juice?

A brand with real juice: apparently, Tropicana!

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When Brand Packaging Goes to Nature

I bought some baby spinach the other day. When it came time to dispose of the plastic-like packaging, I happened to see this text on the back of the lid:

“This package is made from 100% all natural corn, grown by farmers here in the U.S., and utilizes significantly less fossil fuel and resources.”



Underneath the text was a logo of a company familiar to me because of exposure I’ve had to the packaging industry in my work life. The company is NatureWorks. Their technology makes possible the production of plastics and fibers from plants.

I flipped the lid back over to the front. Only then did I become aware that I hadn’t just bought baby spinach, I’d bought the Private Selection brand from Kroger.

Call it a brand moment of truth… whatever… but all of the sudden Private Selection stood out in my mind. The next time I’m looking for baby spinach, I’ll probably look for Private Selection. Why? Well, I like the idea of greener packaging. And seeing the environmentally-conscious message hit me the right way. It’s that simple.

Of course, it’s not that simple. After digging further, I see NatureWorks’ resins are derived from sugarcane and cornstarch, which are important sources of food. Some say that by harvesting crops to make packaging, environmentally-conscious companies are taking away capacity for food production and causing food prices to rise in developing countries.

Clearly, I need to delve deeper into the bio-plastics debate. I want to make the right choices, after all.

And so do many consumers, who continue to demand more responsible products and packaging. Brand marketers have seized the day on this… and focused more attention on environmentally-friendly packaging as an opportunity to differentiate and grab a greater market share.

But how many truly care? And what about you? Do you care about environmentally-friendly packaging? Do you make deliberate brand choices based on the package’s environmental impact?