Friday, February 27, 2009

“Crowdsourced feedback” (like it or not)

Tropicana is changing their package back to its previous incarnation after six short weeks. The strength of digital media and social networks may have fanned these winds of change.

Those of who know me well have heard my "gentle rants" about the Tropicana Orange Juice repackaging launched earlier this year. Why the vertical logo placement (I have never had a single piece of research support vertical logo placement, as efficient as it can be for big branding of primary panels)? Why on EARTH would you walk away from the strong visual equity of the straw-in-orange conveying freshness? Why the generic sans serif font... are you trying to make it look like a TESCO or Sainsbury's package ? They made one structural change as well - changed the cap to a half-orange which, while cute, smacks of premium packaging on a consumable which is a no-no in this conservationist age. And completely, utterly, unshoppable as all product-to-product differentiation was buried (no doubt for the sake of art).

I wasn't the only one thinking this way; the blogosphere agreed. This article in the NYT from earlier this week acknowledged the massive backlash Pepsico encountered acknowledged massive direct feedback via phone and email, but I have seen numerous blogs with innumerable comments all addressing the topic which I imagine carried equal sway as I imagine they no doubt helped create the 'push' needed to get consumers more vocal.

Kudos to Pepsi for listening to the consumer (doing so prior to launch would have been way cheaper) and moving swiftly to backtrack. And if anyone would like a little schadenfreude (Thank you John Gapper for that one) tune here to see Peter Arnett waxing poetic about all the psychological mumbo-jumbo reasons why this packaging is a winner at its launch. Five months from conception to in-market means there's a very senior marketer at Pepsi with egg on their face… And, next time you hear marketers speak like this, short the stock.

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