• David Kimpton on the importance of getting change right

    PepsiCo’s Tropicana packaging rebrand has been doing the rounds again on social media. And there are plenty of comments that follow, mostly to do with ‘if it ain’t broke…’   But there isn’t a single comment that nails the chief issue for me. Well, actually, to be fair, there is more than one issue, and not insignificant ones either.

    Let’s start with the logo: a strong and recognisable logo has been trashed in favour of a completely different typeface in nature, as though there must have been a significant problem with the original. There wasn’t. Worse, it is positioned vertically up the pack, making it illegible at a glance. So brand recognition and loyalty was wildly abandoned. This resulted in a 20% drop in sales worth $30m in the first two months from launch.

    But for me, the biggest mistake was removing the ‘idea’, which is so simple and direct. The orange with a straw in it. This for me is the equivalent of the Jif Lemon packaging. Distinctive and clever, it tells you what you want to know about the product. Pure orange juice straight from the fruit. Bang. Done. That’s the way to build a brand around a distinctive and clear message and that is what I spend my life trying to do for businesses and organisations – exactly the same.

    The solution the agency replaced it with is a photograph of a glass of orange juice. Hmm. Does it have the cleverness of the straw in the orange? No. Does it have its originality? No. Therefore, does it have the distinctiveness to make it stand apart from it shelf competitors? No. Does it even communicate what you want it to? Not necessarily, no. That it’s orange juice yes: straight from the fruit? Not from the photo.

    Comparing the old and the new side by side, the positive updates of the new pack were the vibrant colours that make your mouth water and the new orange shaped cap with the printed leaves, which is a nice touch. But these could have been applied as updates to the original pack design and they wouldn’t have thrown out the baby with the bathwater.

    I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea ‘if it ain’t broke…’ , as things that don’t change at all tend to stagnate and not reflect the times they live in. It’s not about not making changes, it’s about making the right changes.

    I believe in the immediate. The clever. The distinct. The sweet spot is where these factors collide. That’s where success lies. And that’s what I search for. Try me.

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