Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tropicana – The Rationale or The Art of Bullshit

ra⋅tion⋅ale - [rash-uh-nal]


  1. The Fundamental reason or reasons serving to account for something.
  2. A Statement of reason.
  3. A reasoned exposition of principles.
  4. The art or craft of Bullshit! (exclusive to advertising pitches)

Our in-class discussion pretty much nailed or echoed the general public opinion about the package redesign.

IT may have taken 24 years, but PepsiCo now has its own version of New Coke… or at least a light version.

The PepsiCo brand Tropicana is bowing to public demand and scrapping the changes made to a flagship product, Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice. Redesigned packaging that was introduced in early January is being discontinued, executives plan to announce on Monday, and the previous version will be brought back in the next month.

Also returning will be the long-time Tropicana brand symbol, an orange from which a straw protrudes. The symbol, meant to evoke fresh taste, had been supplanted on the new packages by a glass of orange juice.

The about-face comes after consumers complained about the makeover in letters, e-mail messages and telephone calls and clamoured 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."

"Do any of these package-design people actually shop for orange juice?" the writer of one e-mail message asked rhetorically. "Because I do, and the new cartons stink."

Others described the redesign as making it more difficult to distinguish among the varieties of Tropicana or differentiate Tropicana from other orange juices.

Such attention is becoming increasingly common as interactive technologies enable consumers to rapidly convey opinions to marketers.

"You used to wait to go to the water cooler or a cocktail party to talk over something," said Richard Laermer, chief executive at RLM Public Relations in New York.

"Now, every minute is a cocktail party," he added. "You write an e-mail and in an hour, you've got a fan base agreeing with you."

"There will always be people complaining, and always be people complaining about the complainers," said Peter Shankman, a public relations executive who specializes in social media. "But this makes it easier to put us together."

The phenomenon was on display last week when users of Facebook complained about changes to the Web site's terms of service using methods that included, yes, groups on facebook.com. Facebook yielded to the protests and reverted to its original contract with users.

Neil Campbell, president at Tropicana North America in Chicago, part of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, acknowledged that consumers can communicate with marketers "more readily and more quickly" than ever. "For companies that put consumers at the center of what they do," he said, "it's a good thing."

Among those who underestimated that bond was Mr. Campbell himself. In an interview last month to discuss the new packaging, he said, "The straw and orange have been there for a long time, but people have not necessarily had a huge connection to them."

Reminded of that on Friday, Mr. Campbell said: "What we didn't get was the passion this very loyal small group of consumers have. That wasn't something that came out in the research."

That echoed an explanation offered in 1985 by executives of the Coca-Cola Company in response to the avalanche of complaints when they replaced the original version of Coca-Cola with New Coke: Consumers in focus groups liked the taste of New Coke, but were not told old Coke would disappear. The original version was hastily brought back as Coca-Cola Classic and New Coke eventually fizzed out.

You gotta see the "rationale" presented in this video clip when they released the new package.

1 comment:

Ryan Thomas said...

If you did not catch this about 2 weeks ago, you'll see why Pepsi is not the kind of bullshit simply the worlds largest buyer.

After the North American Public of course.

I'll find you the link to the leaked PDF of the new Pepsi logo.

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