Lots of people are asking about why Tropicana redesigned it’s packaging like it did. I was in total agreement until a few weeks ago when I was having a discussion with Leila about it and she mentioned the theory that maybe they redesigned to look more like the store brands. Especially with the economic downturn, the worst thing for a brand is to seem like the premium option in a commodity category (and come on, how different does any of the OJ really taste?). No idea if there’s any truth to it, but store brands are increasingly popular (according to the Private Label Manufacturer’s Association, they “now account for one of every five items sold in U.S. supermarkets, drug chains and mass merchandisers”). Stuart Elliot dances around the idea a bit in his article covering the redesign, writing, “Those [rebranding] initiatives are indicative of the renewed attention that prosaic food brands are getting as the recession continues. To save money, consumers are eating more meals at home and fewer meals at restaurants.”
Oh, and this BrandWeek article makes a good point as well, “While much of the new packaging is still hitting shelves, the media has taken note, said Arnell. ‘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.'” (There’s no such thing as bad publicity??)
No idea what the answer is, but I do know for a fact that sometimes when the design community celebrates a rebranding the public doesn’t (and vice versa I’d imagine).