I remember the day when my wife came home from shopping in the local supermarket complaining that she had a hard time finding our favorite Tropicana juice. “They have changed the packaging and I cannot find anything anymore! Almost took the wrong one!”. She was not complaining for a wrong reason. Take a look at the two Tropicana juices on the left. Yes: they are actually different but it is really difficult to spot: ‘high pulp’ and ‘some pulp’ in a different color, different caps and some other small differences. Surely this might work when you have just two packs next to each other but it gets totally different when you see a whole shelf full of similar looking packs! Other consumers realized this too and after less than 2 months and a 20% drop in sales the new pack was replaced by the old one!
Today I noticed that in the supermarket all the ‘new’ packs are finally gone and replaced with the good looking, differentiating ‘old’ packs with the new redesigned cap. Below you see an image of the ‘new’ pack in supermarket context and the ‘old’ pack. Surely the old pack helps consumers to navigate much much better!
But it was not navigation what was the issue. Reading the original pepsi message and press coverage( 1 and 2) it was about “It’s time to remind consumers that Tropicana Pure Premium is pure, natural and squeezed from fresh oranges,”. “In order to reinforce this message, we focused on the health benefits of the juice but showed it in a more emotional way than ever before in this category. We want to remind consumers how it should feel to drink this juice every morning.”
This is a great objective but hard to imagine that the execution should result in very blend and non differentiating design within the Tropicana range! It was so blend that even consumers were not able to navigate in the store to find their favorite juice! In fact: over the last 3 months I have had at least 2 times that I took accidently the wrong juice home! Something that never happened with the ‘old’ sales pack! Why? The various colors that would help me to navigate (orange=no pulp, green=some pulp) were difficult to find as the overall pack looked so much the same.
Then on the objective to remind consumers that Tropicana is pure, natural and squeezed from fresh oranges. Why change from the fresh oranges with the straw to difficult to see orange juice in a glass? Is it not better for consumers to know that the oranges used to create Tropicana were the best on the planet? Showing them on the sales pack with a straw (so fresh you can drink from them!) did a perfect job!
So here are the lessons I took from this disaster:
Identity which elements in your visual identity drive consumers to purchase your product. In case of Tropicana it could have been the image of the fresh looking orange and the straw that strengthens the feeling of freshness even more.
Identity which elements in your visual identity help consumers to navigate in your portfolio. In case of Tropicana it is for sure the use of colors for the different variants of juice.
Identity which visual elements consumers feel belong to your brand. In this case: the happy font, the straw, the fresh orange.
Any changes you make to #1-#3 you test in a retail environment with consumers who are in hurry to grab their favorite product and do not have time to admire individual design details.
With great internet services like Hulu (European readers: see this image) that help you to “Watch your favorites. Anytime. For Free” you must have been wondering why we still pay for cable TV? The answer is: convenience.
The fact that cable prices are still going up (at least here in NYC) will for sure help to accelerate the transition as more and more consumers will try to find alternatives to reduce the large amount of dollars we pay to cable companies every month. Example: in New York City, USD 111.95 per month will give you internet and cable TV at Time Warner Cable… that is a lot for convenience… especially knowing that virtually all TV shows you would like to watch are available on Hulu.com. In fact: you do not even need a hard drive recorder since all the shows are available on Hulu for quite a long time. If news is your cup of tea then you just go to e.g cnn.com to watch Live TV. It is all there… on the net… for free!
So, you are convinced that paying for convenience is kind of weird since you can get it all for free on the net? Read further…
Things are still a bit complicated. Last year it was possible to use media center software (boxee) to stream Hulu content on an Apple TV box connected to your TV. Unfortunately the pleasure was for short: content providers did not want their video to go straight to the TV… As with everything I am sure that hackers, plugin writers will fix this issue and as a bonus will be able to get the Hulu desktop (image) on your media box. I think it is just a matter of time…
Now, once you can use Hulu on your Apple TV or an other media box you might wonder: would Hulu’s 480p content do any good on a 40inch screen? I think you have a point there. The alternative is easy: buy HD content for 2.99USD an episode on iTunes.
Let’s do the math to see how much convenience is worth:
– random internet connection through provider, 25USD per month
– AppleTV, USD 299, (let’s say: 13USD per month over two years)
With a 110USD Time Warner Cable contract you can still buy 24 HD episodes of your favorite TV shows or rent about 18 movies before you would spend more than your current fixed costs!
Virgin Megastore is leaving New York City and the USA altogether! To me this truly marks the end of the physical music era and the beginning of digital for the masses. Surely, digital music sales have gone up for a long time already and many (independent) music stores have closed over the last years but the fact that Virgin stepping out is a big thing. Virgin did after all start as a record shop called Virgin Records and Tapes!
Personally I am sad that Virgin Megastore is soon no-more. Why? I just loved going there to browse around, touch the physical CDs/DVDs and above all watching people in the store. Did I buy in the store? Yes! I found myself buying every time I came to the store. Will I continue buying physical CDs/DVDs? Yes! That is for most albums… I just really like to rip CDs in the quality I want. The most important part of a physical CD is however for me the album art work and the booklet.
Thinking about the art work: when moving from the big Long Play records to the small CDs I felt a bit similar: nothing was going to beat the big cover and booklet. It just was part of the whole music experience. And it was art! I somehow learned to live with the small CD booklets and so, maybe I will learn to live with digital art too.
No-nonsense brand bites since 2009