Saddens me to have been right this time

Posted on May 8, 2010

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PepsiCo Conducts Review for $25M Tropicana Pure Premium Account – Advertising Age – Agency News 

Over one year ago, I blogged about how one of my favorite brands, Tropicana, had lost its way.  Tropicana Orange Juice, in the bright container, became like all other generic brands as it changed over to no frills-like packaging. The liquid product had not changed but something did in fact change. A brand that many of us had come to trust, recognize, and easily find on our store shelves was no longer easy to find. When we did stumble upon it, the relationship had changed. It no longer felt familiar. Tropicana did not even feel new and improved.

As a marketing research professional AND consumer, this felt like a brand totally out of touch. Had competent marketing research been done, it would have been noticeable immediately that something was not working.  In a brief period of time, Tropicana lost market share and more importantly lost the special relationship it had with the consumer. A brand that had been built over the course of decades had been taken down in weeks. All due to treating the customer as irrelevant.

In order to better understand the rise and fall of the Tropicana brand, following are some key milestones:

  • 1954 flash pasteurization preserved fresh taste
  • Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s shipping innovations
  • 1969 Tropicana went public and appears on the NY stock exchange
  • 1998 Tropicana acquired by Pepsico
  • February 2009 the Tropicana package is redesigned
  • April 2009 sales fall by 20% and the former packaging design is restored

It is fascinating that when asked about the sales decline Tropicana executives still do not fess up to the packaging fiasco. There have been many great brands that have faced challenges and they have bounced back. Tropicana…there is a lesson to be learned….Listen to  how other brands have handled obstacles and listen to your customers. 

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