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Tropicana Fiasco From Arnell is Gift That Keeps Giving

Posted by: David Kiley on April 3, 2009


Thanks to Ad Age for following up on this: “After its package redesign, sales of the Tropicana Pure Premium line plummeted 20% between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22, costing the brand tens of millions of dollars. On Feb. 23, the company announced it would bow to consumer demand and scrap the new packaging, designed by Peter Arnell. It had been on the market less than two months.

“Now that the numbers are out, it’s clear why PepsiCo’s Tropicana moved as fast as it did. According to Information Resources Inc., unit sales dropped 20%, while dollar sales decreased 19%, or roughly $33 million, to $137 million between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22. Moreover, several of Tropicana’s competitors appear to have benefited from the misstep, notably Minute Maid, Florida’s Natural and Tree Ripe. Varieties within each of those brands posted double-digit unit sales increases during the period. Private-label products also saw an increase during the period, in keeping with broader trends in the food and beverage space.”

I can still see Arnell at the press conference so carefully twisting off the contoured orange cap of his carton that was sculpted to mimic the skin of an orange. When I was in the stores, though, what I found was that the caps hadn’t yet made the production line. So, what you found was the new carton with the old plain cap. That must have been what undercut the whole philosophical and cosmic reason for why the washed out graphics and generic-brand-looking package failed to make consumers think of refreshing juice. Yeah…that must have been the reason.

Perhaps if Arnell could have gotten his friend Celine Dion to sing a new Tropicana jingle….yeah…that would have put the whole thing over the top. I believe he has Celine’s cell-phone number.

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Reader Comments


April 7, 2009 10:04 PM

the numbers are staggering. it's pretty obvious arnell hasn't had to deal with damage control before:


April 12, 2009 11:57 PM


Great take on Arnell. Can't add anything.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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