Tropicana Squeezes Out Fresh Design with a Peel

The idea: To generate attention for the leading refrigerated orange juice brand, Tropicana decided to take a blank gable top carton and start over. “It was about refreshing and modernizing,” said Tropicana president Neil Campbell. “The entire orange juice category has been in decline for some time. We wanted to create an emotional attachment by ‘heroing’ the juice and trumpeting the natural fruit goodness.”

The challenge: About half of consumers think there is added sugar in orange juice. Tropicana needed to change that perception. The fact that the juice is pure, natural and 100 percent squeezed from fresh oranges needed to be conveyed.

How it was created: The design team decided to take full advantage of all of the dimensions of the packaging. A picture of a glass of orange juice spans across the oblique corner of the carton. The idea was to create some perspective on that corner so it is not sharp or angular, said Peter Arnell, head of the Arnell Group which spearheaded the redesign. “It’s like having a glass come to your table. It’s very elegant. We no longer wanted to work with assets or parts that were not clear to the consumer. They might have identified with the orange and the straw on the old packaging but no one new why it was there.”

What is says and why:
This thinking was also applied to what the package said. Arnell said the team was instructed to use “Obama-esque design language that was clear, simple and profound.” This meant placing the words: “100% orange pure & natural” front and center. “The joke around the office about our friends in Atlanta and their notion of ‘simply’ [was] we trademarked “100% orange” which absolutely nails the competition on the shelf,” said Arnell of Coca-Cola’s Simply Orange brand.

What’s next?: The brand is the manufacturing development stage of creating a new 89 oz. carafe that will replace the existing white jugs.

The results: While much of the new packaging is still hitting shelves, the media has taken note, said Arnell. “No one would ever write an article about Tropicana. Then you get rid of the orange and the straw and the whole world pays attention.”

Orange you glad:
The new packaging has 20 design trademarks and copyrights. It took 30 people five months to develop it. Three alternative designs were scrapped including a revised orange and straw version and a Pepperidge Farm-like depiction of an orange grove.

Here is the capper:
Tropicana wanted a physical mnemonic for the brand. The design team at the Arnell Group took half of a mid-season orange and created a cap that mimicked its peel in both color and texture. Because you have to squeeze it and turn it, “the cap symbolically represents the essence of the message which is that it the juice is fresh squeezed,” said Arnell. The cap is made from a special gauge of plastic with a soft rebound to it, he said. “It’s got a tactile quality, not unlike an orange. It helped us create a whole new ritual for Tropicana.”