Where Tropicana Went Wrong

Grant McCracken has a dead-on analysis of how the Tropican packaging redesign went so far off track, leading to an embarrassing pulling from the shelves just a few weeks after launch.

The old Tropicana package was a welcome presence in this household. It was familiar, cheerful, good hearted. Sitting on the breakfast, it was a little like a light house, a symbol of some of the things that makes mornings in America a good way to break the fast and prepare for the day.

But who cares about the old package? Who cares about the American consumer? Pepsi’s has an idea! It wants to “rejuvenate, reengineer, rethink, reparticipate in popular culture” and if this means turning out something that looks like generic packaging, well, too bad. In an act of marketing malpractice, Pepsi managed to reach into the American breakfast and diminish it. It managed to reach into this precious occasion and make it poorer and more paltry. Pepsi did this deliberately…to itself…and the American consumer…with design.

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