Biggest Marketing Failure of Tropicana

Anish Sharma Anish Sharma
Nov 27, 2022 5 min read
Biggest Marketing Failure of Tropicana

Marketing is a grace for a company if done properly, but it also has the power to eradicate the brand if done wrongly. Competition is tough today and brands are adopting so many marketing tactics to stand on top of the list and acquire huge market shares.‌‌

Small mistakes in marketing can cause a brand to suffer a lot in terms of revenue and reputation. Tropicana's marketing failure story is the best example present out there to learn from. It's always better to learn from others' mistakes and this article is sufficient to make you understand why Tropicana's marketing failed.

About Tropicana
Biggest Marketing failure of Tropicana
What's gone wrong with Tropicana's rebranding
Image change
Logo change
Implementation of 3D design
Lessons to learn from Tropicana's marketing mistake
Don't try to modernize everything
Don't disrupt the Emotional bond‌‌
Conclusion
FAQs

About Tropicana

PepsiCo-owned Tropicana is a fruit-based juice brand that is an add-on to PepsiCo's beverage portfolio. This brand was purchased by PepsiCo in 1998 from Seagram Co. Ltd to expand its beverage business and compete with its competitors. From the year 1998 to 2021, Tropicana's business was run under the administration of PepsiCo. In 2021, 61% of Tropicana's share was sold to PAI partners (a France-based private equity firm) and the remaining 39% was retained by PepsiCo.

Starting as an orange juice brand, Tropicana is now offering a range of juice products like pineapple mango splash, Berry colada light, Caribbean sunset, pina colada, and much more.

Biggest Marketing failure of Tropicana

Tropicana's biggest rivalry is coca-cola owned Minute Maid. Even though Tropicana's market share is far better than Minute Maid, there used to be tough neck-to-neck competition between these two giant players.

The whole story of rebranding to its marketing and its failure starts when management notices a downfall in its market share. In 2006, Tropicana's market share in its segment used to be 42% which decreased to 33.6% in 2009. At the same time Coca-Cola's newly launched premium orange juice "simply orange" grew from 8.1% to 14.8%.

After seeing the research report, the president of Tropicana "Neil Campbell" realized that the customers reckoned packaged orange juices contain added sugar. So, to bring up the fact that Tropicana orange juices are pure, natural, and 100% squeezed from fresh oranges, they need to tweak the brand identity by rebranding.

The task to redesign the product packaging of Tropicana's top-selling product "pure premium" and market the new design was assigned to Peter Arnell's group in January 2009. While evaluating the new product design, designers examined the traditional design of Tropicana. After analyzing the old design they thought that the outer part of the orange with the straw should be replaced with the glass of squeezed orange. The clear intention of the designer is to emphasize the fact that the juice packet contains 100% pure squeezed orange.

In an attempt to change the product design which can convey the message that it contains 100% natural orange juice, they changed the brand identity. Disaster happens just after the launch of the new product design. Social media was flooded with posts and articles criticizing the new logo and overall package design. People used to argue that the old design with orange and straw in it, gives them a sense of freshness.

The whole marketing campaign of $35 million for the new design started to go wrong when the product which was making $700 million in annual revenue started declining just after the launch. In just 1 month $20 million in sales revenue vanished, making an aggregate loss of $55 million. As soon as the management recognized their mistake they again introduced the old traditional design of the Tropicana pure premium by replacing the new one.

What's gone wrong with Tropicana's rebranding

Image change

The image of orange and straw had a presence for so many decades on old packaging and there is a loyal consumer base of this product, who consume the product regularly and are emotionally attached to the old design. The complete change in design had badly impacted this customer base, and the reaction of consumers had negatively impacted the company's revenue.

Logo change

Old Logo in Left
Old Logo on Left

There is a tendency for humans to read the letter from left to right. In the new design, the designer has changed the orientation of the logo vertically which was very hard to recognize. The most crucial factor in branding is its logo, and due to changes in the orientation, the visibility of the logo disappeared. The old logo was dark, bold, and in the middle of the packet which can effortlessly be recognized from a distance.

Implementation of 3D design

To implement the graphic of a juice glass, they utilize a half portion of the front part and half portion of the side part. While doing all this thing and providing a 3D look, they again forgot about the visibility. The new packaging used to mingle with other fruit juice brands on the shelf, and it was hard to distinguish between Tropicana's juice and other brands' juice. The regular consumers of Tropicana were also unable to recognize the brand from the shelf.

The 3D design holds no meaning because only half part of the juice glass was visible, while another part was hidden if you look at the packet from the front. The newly introduced lid for the packet, which had an orange texture on it, didn't work for the company efficiently. The thought behind implementing this is to make customers feel that they are squeezing the orange while opening the bottle.

Lessons to learn from Tropicana's marketing mistake

‌‌

Don't try to modernize everything

It is not necessary to modernize everything according to the present generation. The first thing we need to take care of is who our audience is and what they want. Tropicana has changed its design completely without thinking about its impact. People don't want modern juice, they want the same one which they've been drinking for years. When they saw the drastic change in the shelf, they wondered if the juice had also been changed. There was no strong need to change everything in the design to look modern.

Don't disrupt the Emotional bond‌‌

Customers feel an emotional bond for the product and brand that they love. Since there is an emotional connection, customers can feel betrayed and disappointed if they no longer recognize the brand due to a change in the packaging design. This caused the downfall of Tropicana's revenue because customers were unable to identify their favorite juice brand.

Think if you have a picture of your favorite brand in your mind and suddenly that brand transforms its identity, then you also might be confused about the brand for some time.

Conclusion

The whole story of Tropicana is a lesson for the brand that how important is its core identity and why you should not tweak the brand completely. Packaging is a powerful tool for the business to create trust among customers and to show themself unique, so be careful before redesigning the packaging if you already have a strong brand image.

FAQs

Who is the CEO of Tropicana?

Glen Walter is the CEO of Tropicana.

Who owns Tropicana?

Tropicana is owned by PAI Partners.

Did Pepsi own Tropicana?

Yes, Pepsi owned Tropicana and sold it to PAI Partners in 2021.

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