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Tropicana OJ is Taking Advantage of Me!

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The redesign of Tropicana's Pure Premium OJ containers has me pissed! Why? Because the design went from upscale to totally generic.

Tropican Juice

Susannah Locketti: I put myself through college working as a grocery store cashier. The daily ritual of scanning food items exposed me to the art of corporate design trends and re-branding efforts. I'd be the first to notice a change in packaging, or the new angle companies would take to lure us to buy their product. Right now for example, fiber is the buzz word. Companies have now found a way to put fiber in cottage cheese -- just to increase sales! It's absurd because cottage cheese does not naturally have fiber. Poptarts now have tons of fiber. If I want fiber I'll eat an apple people!

When Tropicana down-scaled their packaging six weeks ago, I was shocked, yet understood exactly what their marketing team was trying to do with the new design. The simple bottle with an orange in the middle and 100% juice on the front is a far cry from their former white bottles with their classic straw stuck in an orange logo. The old juice container also boasted "Pure Premium." This bottle runs the barely noticeable Tropicana name up the side with "pure premium" in very small type.

The bottle was unappealing, but if you think about it, Tropicana is now competing with less expensive store brands and generic brands in a bad economy. If it looks inexpensive, then the customer might assume it costs less and buy it. The problem was Tropicana didn't consider what their existing customers would think about the new design.

Turns out, faithful Tropicana drinkers hated the redesign. Angry consumers took to the web and complained because it looked so generic. Tropicana drinkers wanted that Pure Premium look back, and in several weeks they'll get it. PepsiCo will return the juice to its former self as a result of the whirlwind of negative feedback.

I'd understand Tropicana's redesign if their price reduced at the same time their look reduced ... but as a mom and a consumer, I feel taken advantage of by Tropicana. Some people are so crazed at the store they do in fact grab what looks generic and inexpensive without looking at the price. Crying kids and a long day at work will do that to you! Little do consumers know they just grabbed a pricier juice designed to look cheaper. Talk about reverse marketing...

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29 comments so far | Post a comment now
d'MoniqueRenee March 1, 2009, 9:21 AM

I really disliked the new container. I found it confusing and passed it up a couple of times for a generic brand of OJ.

Jessica March 1, 2009, 12:48 PM

Who gives a flying flip about an orange juice container??? There are plenty more things to be upset about. If you don’t take the time to check the price of what you’re buying, then you must not be that interested in saving money anyways. Get a life!!!

Anonymous March 1, 2009, 1:50 PM

I thought it was trying to look more ‘organic.’
The screw on top is a neat idea, though.
It looks like an orange.

Anonymous March 1, 2009, 2:11 PM

Do you seriously care that much! Ridiculous!!!

Susannah Locketti March 1, 2009, 6:46 PM

Tropicana will keep the orange shaped screw on cap.

Johanna March 1, 2009, 8:20 PM

It’s Tropicana being deceitful. It angered me as well when I saw the new look. I was angered at how greedy they can be. Trying to take advantage of a struggling economy by tricking customers into thinking they are buying the cheaper generic store brand when in fact they are not and are still spending more money instead of saving money.

Jill (the other one) March 1, 2009, 8:21 PM

I thought the redesign was very boring, much like the new Pepsi logo. They both look generic and cheap and not in a good way.

R March 1, 2009, 9:42 PM

Um, there is a price tag with the product isn’t there? Why can’t consumers be responsible and look at what they are buying. I can’t believe people are angry over this!
I bought some Tropicana last week and wasn’t the least bit confused!

RMX March 1, 2009, 10:24 PM

PEPSI is going flip trip with it’s logos.
Go look at a new PEPSI can.
At Wal Mart two women were arguing to each other about how Wal-Mart was producing cheap Pepsi and one lady could not be convienced that it was in fact Pepsi.
I don’t need to work at check out to spot change,somehow,for somereason I’m always in the lookout for what people are up to.

NYCity Mama March 1, 2009, 10:42 PM

In a quick, limited budget crazed trip to the supermarket a few months ago, or last month, I grabbed the cheaper orange juice from the selection, because I wanted OJ, but needed to focus my spending on other things. So I picked the generic brand, quickly, not needing to look at the price, generic -cheap-grab it-let’s go! How surprised was I when I discovered I had purchased Tropicana once I got home? I laughed at being tricked…it does make a difference, though I guess not on my wallet!

Anonymous March 1, 2009, 11:08 PM

I thought the minimalist redesign looked kind of elegant. I know it’s “plain” and “generic” looking, but it looks clean and kind of pretty. But I see why people didn’t like it.

deaddrift March 2, 2009, 2:40 AM

Cannot BELIEVE that there are people expending mental and emotional energy on the packaging redesign of an orange juice company. This phenomenon is just another sign of the impending apocalypse, if you ask me (and yes, I know you didn’t).

Unmentioned in this piece is the ongoing trend of reducing package sizes while keeping the same price, which pervades every aisle of the store. Now THAT might be worth writing an article about….

Bec Thomas March 2, 2009, 5:25 AM

You really have self esteem issues if your worried that you might be seen with an orange juice container that “looks” generic

Susannah Locketti March 2, 2009, 9:04 AM

How companies choose to market to us during a recession is of great interest to me given my background in food and consumer related areas. Thanks for all the feedback! It’s always helpful and honest!:)

Maureen from Tropicana March 2, 2009, 11:16 AM

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and point of view on our packaging redesign. I want to assure you that the original decision to redesign was based on our desire to place focus on the juice inside our container. We knew this was a departure for an iconic American brand like Tropicana. Tropicana is a premium brand and we would never want consumers to mistake our brand for a store/generic brand. Never!

However, after taking the time to listen to feedback from our consumers offline and online (blogs, Twitter, etc) we’ve decided to return to our iconic packaging as you know. People told us they missed the look of “their Tropicana” and thought it was easier to find on the shelf. Our consumers are everything to us, and we really value and listen to what you and others have to say.

I’m happy to answer any questions you’ve got - and we’d love to hear any additional feedback you and your readers may have.

Jo March 2, 2009, 11:51 AM

To those that can’t believe people would get angry over the packaging. Think long and hard by what you just said and what others have said.

The company is trying to be deceitful by making you think that since the packaging looks generic you’ll automatically grab it thinking you’re buying generic and saving some money. Not everyone reads price tags (as many just mentioned here) and they know this. Take this from someone who has worked in advertising and marketing for many years.

maeby March 2, 2009, 12:14 PM

yeah i thought they were going for a more “organic” simple design to lure you in. Since eating/drinking organic is all the rage.
Ya know now that i keep typing im sure of it!Which is why they made the 100% orange so big and put “pure and natural” underneath it.

Mia March 3, 2009, 1:46 PM

Okay, for those who are mentioned reading the price tags… I have been tricked by stores (esp Wal-Mart) because I didn’t take the time to read the UPC on the tag and check it against the product I was taking off the shelf. Looking at the price below the item (even if it seems to have the same name) isn’t always going to help you!

Gina March 4, 2009, 6:55 PM

As a Pace University advertising student and a drinker of Tropicana products I couldn’t agree more with the change back to the original carton. I feel like the new carton wasn’t attention grabbing and I often found myself searching for the flavor I usually drink or grabbing the wrong flavor on accident. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. This had nothing to do with the pricing it was just a matter of preference and I guess what I became used to.

Anonymous March 7, 2009, 4:34 PM

I really like the new design!!! I am an educated designer and I thought the new packaging looks clean and modern. Have you noticed how the younger generation likes to shop at target stores with trendy packaging?
P.S. if you want to save money i suggest shopping at ALDI not your local grocery store. That way there is no way you can be confused by buying a name brand over a generic brand.

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