Tropicana redesigned its orange juice carton and lost $30 million

No, they probably don’t, admittedly.

But once asked to create a change, they have to do their ‘thing’ and prove their ‘worth’ with something ‘major’ rather than say “meh, it’s fine as it is; as a designer I’d recommend against a major change or indeed any change, but if you must, some very mild tweaks are the most you should do” - no, they tend not to say that.


I noticed that the focus is on the 100% pure orange juice line instead of the branding, which seems like an odd choice. Like the Tropicana brand is so iconic for the orange with the striped straw and they removed all the branding elements from it. Did they have some insane e. coli outbreak I don’t remember?

I do like the orange plastic cap they made on the redesign though, it’s a nice touch.



Tropicana was sued for the misleading nature of their orange with a straw in it and when the case was allowed to proceed ended up repackaging their orange juice into what you saw. Turns out there was a business reason to explain the bad decision. @frauenfelder


A lot of people don’t appreciate how much emotional connection plays into our purchasing decisions. If you had to buy a tube of toothpaste based on a dispassionate analysis of the pros and cons for each brand and variety of toothpaste available in a modern supermarket you could get stuck there for hours. Brand loyalty is a helluva powerful force even for those of us who consider ourselves rational human beings, and severing the connections that make a brand recognizable is almost never a good idea.

When Old Spice decided to radically re-brand and expand their product line to win back a chunk of the young adult market from Axe they still kept the basic appearance of their classic aftershave bottle because they didn’t want to alienate their existing customer base in the quest to win over new consumers.


Ironic, given that Tropicana got sued for flat-out mislabeling their products 100% pure and natural orange juice free of additives when in fact their chock-full of a proprietary flavor formula and sugar, then weaseled out of it by noting the FDA doesn’t actually require them to tell the truth to their customers. The only worthwhile thing about Tropicana is the iconic packaging.


It’s time to modernize orange juice, they said…

That imagined soliloquy was laugh-out-loud funny, Mark. Much more entertaining than the original story, especially this part:

The rebranding failed to strengthen customers’ deep emotional bond with the original packaging

WTH, is it deeply emotional to simply recognize the accustomed packaging?

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Do the stores even sell frozen concentrate anymore? Seems like a real waste of gas to transport all that water around.

I am annoyed by this 12 year old decision

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:raising_hand_man: that would be me.

I’m proud though the last time I got toothpaste I told myself I’d just go in and get the other leading brand, whatever their most basic no-bells-or-whistles offering was (out of what 20 varieties). My mouth hasn’t noticed the difference afaik.


This is a great example of why you should never mess with a winning formula. The Tropicana brand managers thought they knew better than the customers, and they paid the price. When you’ve got a good thing, don’t try to fix it.

Except brands do this absolutely all the time and get away with it just fine. Brand logos started getting straight-up ugly in the 90s, and while that’s been dialed back a bit more recently, it’s been replaced with bland, sterile simplicity like the offending orange juice carton here.

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Yeah, I assume it’s not so much that customers lost their deep bond with the packaging and more that they just didn’t see the brand they usually buy, so they bought something else.


Most of the major grocery stores still do, yes. And it’s cheaper than the non-concentrated stuff. About $1.50 to $2 for a 12oz can, which makes roughly a carton’s worth when reconstituted. So maybe 60% the price of non-concentrated.


This. I think the best packaging updates are done gradually. Radical changes make it difficult for customers to adapt. I’m a graphic designer from way back, and I rely on visual cues when shopping for my favorite products. Wholesale package redesigns usually leave me a little angry. Google images of Morton’s Salt to see how to change with the times without alienating your customers.


This was Peter Arnell’s second spectacular failure the first was for The Pepsi logo


So, what made you decide to get the other brand? Inquiring minds want to know!

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Thank you for posting that.

So, they are the same company that @Otherbrother was talking about in posts #5 and 13, above, with the Donald Duck orange juice. And I see that they do still sell Donald Duck juice (that link is to The Disney Food Blog, where they say:

Sadly, the only official “Donald Duck” items that remain on the market today are Donald Duck Orange Juice and Donald Duck Grapefruit Juice, both of which can be purchased on

I know this is getting away from the topic of Tropicana carton design, but I’m always interested in knowing that businesses are cooperatives!


This is a great example of why you should never mess with a winning formula.

That reminds me of another Tropicana-related debacle, when the idiot scion of the Seagram Company, Edgar Bronfman Jr., decided to sell off the reliably profitable juices division to buy into the music and movie business.


“Little. Yellow. Different. Better.” Hitting you over the head with “New = Good.”

Sure. But, the flip side of that is that gradual (half-assed) updating looks half-assed and chimerical. The real problem with the Tropicana redesign isnt necessarily that it was non-gradual: its that its really crappy, in so many different respects. (The question isnt: What did they get wrong? It’s: What did they get right?)

Heh, tell that to the automobile “infotainment center” sector. I have yet to experience one that isn’t annoyingly clunky. Same with energy audit software. IME, they either get the underlying engineering right, or the interface, but never both. Maybe there aren’t too many designers, but just not enough good designers.

But to the main topic, Tropicana ditching the iconic orange with a straw logo strikes me as a solution in search of a problem.
ETA- nevermind that last sentence. Just caught up to @emo_pinata ’s post. Thanks for the background.


I don’t really understand the “brand loyalty” thing. I mean, if I like a product I’ll get it again. But I’ve never had a toothpaste that was like, “wow this is the best toothpaste ever!” So concerning which brand is best for my teeth, I’m just hedging my bets.


Not 100% sure of the connection. The rebrand was in 2009, the court case was in 2013.

Also, they switched back to the old packaging two months after the attempted rebrand, so it doesn’t seem like they were too concerned about the legal issues.

From reading the court case above, I didn’t see references to added sugar. Just that it was pasteurized, de-aerated, stored, and flavored. I didn’t see that the flavor contained sugar, but I could be wrong.


For me, brand loyalty is about more than the product, though. Like, if there are two or more equally good products, if I can afford it, I’ll be loyal to the brand that upholds social and environmental practices that align with my values. Kind of voting with my money for the world I want, you know?