ATLANTA (AdAge.com) -- In the wake of this year's Tropicana re-branding disaster, Coca-Cola is planning a refresh of its own.
The company is introducing a new packaging design for its mainstream global juice businesses, which include the Minute Maid, Del Valle, Andina and Cappy brands. When the rollout is complete, the new packaging will cover half of the juice portfolio's volume.
Juice has been identified as the No. 1 priority for the company after sparkling beverages, said Guy Wollaert, general manager-global juice center at Coca-Cola. To that end, the company is looking to unify its myriad juice brands with common logos, visual identities, packaging graphics and, eventually, communications. The first round of redesigned packaging will be rolled out with Minute Maid in the U.S. beginning this month. Additional packaging will be rolled out globally throughout next year. New products will be gradually worked into existing marketing campaigns and will first appear in marketing materials before the end of this year in the U.S.
"In juice we have a family of brands strong in respective geographies but varying widely in their visual identities, product architecture, communication and package graphics," said Mr. Wollaert. "This will build brand equity, and drive marketing productivity in juices through global effectiveness and efficiency without losing the local connections that some of our juice brand names have generated over the years."
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The new design, created by Duffy Partners, Minneapolis, and CMA Design, Houston, in partnership with Coca-Cola's in-house design team, features a stack of fruit, with a slice of the fruit balanced on top. It is meant to bring consumers closer to the fruit, the tree and the grove, as well as improve the products' shelf appeal at the point of sale. "We stress-tested this, and it's flexible enough to stretch across a variety of fruits, the whole range of packaging and across the different brands and product platforms that fit under those mainstream brands," Mr. Wollaert said.
No impact from Tropicana
Was Coca-Cola given any pause by the experience of key competitor Tropicana, which less than a year ago unveiled a new package designed by Peter Arnell that was met with confusion and criticism from consumers? "We certainly didn't know what [Tropicana] was doing. We saw it when everyone else did," said Brian Kelley, president, general manager-still beverages at Coke. "The competitive actions they took didn't really impact us. We had to make sure we maintained the equity while modernizing it and maintaining the appeal and that's what we did."
Venkatesh Kini, VP-marketing of the global juice center, said the company has been testing package designs with consumers for nearly two years, identifying those key equity items it shouldn't change. It is also taking a measured approach in markets where the changes are more significant. On the Del Valle brand, for example, there will be an intermediary design to transition from a red background to a white background featuring fruit.
"Based on the research we've done, we're quite confident we're on target," Mr. Wollaert said. "It's been amazing, the consistency in the brand equity cues."
Ultimately, Tropicana pulled its repackaging, having failed to anticipate how swiftly consumers would react to changes made to the beloved Tropicana straw-in-orange design. Sales of the Tropicana Pure Premium line plummeted 20% between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22, costing the brand tens of millions of dollars.
Minute Maid was a key beneficiary of that debacle. Varieties within the brand posted double-digit unit sales increases between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22, the period that Tropicana's new design was on shelves, before it announced plans to revert to the original.
"Importantly the Minute Maid logo is clear; it is what links the brand to its terrific heritage. We didn't stray far from that," Mr. Kelley said. "Unlike what our competitor did, this is all about improving and moving forward. We certainly weren't running away from anything."