When Redesigns Fail.

As graphic designers, we’re often excited by the opportunity to redesign. It’s like a trip to the spa for a product: a chance to be evaluated, buffed, scrubbed, polished, pampered and made over into something cleaner, better and new. However, even in the best of salons, there’s always a chance of some redness and irritation after procedures. In the case of Tropicana’s Pure Premium packaging redesign, customers had some irritation — lot of irritation, in fact. This year sales dropped 20% between January 1 (the launch of the redesign) and February 22. Tropicana pulled the plug on the resign on February 23. The failure of the redesign would, perhaps, be understandable had the company not put time, research, money and talent into the new packaging, but in the case of Tropicana, they had done all of those. They had devoted five months to the redesign and had a concrete vision of modernizing Tropicana’s image. In the video linked below, Peter Arnell, CEO of the Arnell Group that worked on the project, describes his team’s goals for the redesign. His team was intrigued that for years only the outside of the orange had been shown on the packaging. They decided to show the inside of the orange — the juice, which is, after all, what the consumer is buying. They also redesigned the cap to replicate half an orange, so the consumer would get to “squeeze” the orange every day, replicating fresh-squeezed juice. Despite their great intentions, they underestimated the strength of the consumers’ commitment to the classic “orange with a straw.” They also never dreamed their beautiful, minimalist, modern design would be classified as ranking with the grocery store’s lowly generic brand packaging. Perhaps the saddest part is the redesign tale is how it landed Tropicana a spot on Yahoo’s 10 Dumbest Moments in Business 2009 (Midyear Edition). Better luck next time, designers.

More about this redesign:

Where Did Tropicana Go Wrong?
Randall Ringer on Narrative Branding

Eight Major Failures of the Tropicana Redesign

Matt Everson on Astuteo

Peter Arnell Explains Failed Tropicana Package Design

AdAge Video

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