Monday, February 23, 2009

Tropicana Pkg: Emotional Connection or $?

A month ago, Tropicana introduced its new, very generic-looking OJ container, pictured at right (from Ad Age). My local supermarkets promoted the change by putting the OJ on sale for $1 less than competing brands. The best part about the new packaging was that the orange-shaped cap stood out, but that's not saying a lot.

Now the company is changing back to the old, distinctive container, shown at left. Good move. Although Tropicana's execs talked about not appreciating the depth of emotional connection that customers had to the old packaging, I believe the real reason was lost sales. I could be wrong, as reader Jack suggests--maybe Tropicana was really listening to its customers.

(April 2nd UPDATE: According to Ad Age, Tropicana's sales fell an astonishing 20% in the 7 weeks after the new packaging was introduced. Customer loyalty must have been part of the equation, but clearly bottom-line considerations provoked the switch back to the old packaging.)

Loyal Tropicana customers probably couldn't find their fave OJ in the sea of containers, so sales likely took a big hit. I noticed the new carton because of the price, not because the new packaging was appealing or familiar. What kind of in-store testing was the new carton subjected to before the switch? Were supermarkets allowed input? Who was really squeezed?

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