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When Brands Go Wrong: Tropicana failed to survey.

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. After successfully rebranding their most popular beverages with revamped packaging fonts and colors, PepsiCo took the plunge to redesign one of their biggest brands, Tropicana. Even the best brands need an update every now and then, so it must have made sense in the conference room.

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At first glance, the redesign seems the perfect culmination of market research and watching current branding trends. The lower-case sans-serif type, the large amount of white space, and the visual simplicity of the carton is something we’ve seen in branding across many industries. But instead of making the packaging alluring in its simplicity, the new designs made the brand – and its product – look cheap. At first, the industry noticed, and then customer satisfaction plummeted. It’s no surprise that, a short seven weeks later, PepsiCo pulled the new packaging and reverted to the classic straw-in-orange design.

But here’s the big difference. The original packaging had a position – The straw into the orange. And it communicates instantly. All you have to do is look at it.

The new package…no positioning. No image. They try to tell you in text. It doesn’t work.

The repacking must have cost them big time. The only real plus for the Tropicana marketing team was how fast they pulled the new packaging. The straw in the orange “talks.” They were smart to revert.