PepsiCo, in an attempt to revamp its Tropicana orange juice brand, introduced
newly designed cartons in January of 2009. Turns out orange juice drinkers held a
truly deep affection for the old carton—featuring its ‘orange with a straw’ logo—
and immediately rejected change. Simply put, the disappearance of the image of an
orange with a straw poking out, replaced by a glass of orange juice against a white
backdrop, really stung Tropicana customers.
For a month, PepsiCo was pounded with criticism of the new container and, after a
month, announced that the original logo would be reinstated. The rebranding fiasco
cost PepsiCo a 20% dip in sales for the 2 months following the rebranding attempt.
The New York Times highlighted this case of extreme customer consternation in an
article titled, “Tropicana Discovers Some Buyers Are Passionate About Packaging”.
Here’s a revealing excerpt:
“The about-face comes after consumers complained about the makeover in letters,
e-mail messages and telephone calls and clamored for a return of the original look.
Some of those commenting described the new packaging as ‘ugly’ or ‘stupid,’ and
resembling ‘a generic bargain brand’ or a ‘store brand.’”
The Times article went on to quote Neil Campbell, the President of Tropicana North
America, who acknowledged the importance of customer loyalty and consumer
passion for Tropicana’s original look:
“We underestimated the deep emotional bond [consumers had with the original
packaging]. Those consumers are very important to us, so we responded.”
The case of the unsuccessful Tropicana rebrand speaks to the importance of a
brand’s visual identity; even if the final product or service remains the same, a
tweak to a brand’s visual identity, without the appropriate customer research and
feedback to inform the process, can negatively impact a brand significantly.
-Tropicana: The Case of an Unsuccessful Rebranding Attempt