Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I have to start out by saying that I don't really drink orange juice. I am more of a grapefruit person. My parents retired to Florida and this new design looks like the local generic brand sold at Publix grocery stores (one on every corner!). Also, this piece seems like fodder for my friend and classmate Jennifer's blog, but I thought I would try to scoop her.

So as I am eating my high fiber bran cereal with banana this morning, my regular news show was covering this story about how Tropicana was switching their carton design back to the old picture of a straw coming right out the orange. I also caught the same story here.

On the outset it seems like nothing special; alright, they went back to their old package...so what? But it is how Pepsi was forced back that is the interesting part. Apparently blogs, chatrooms, fan pages on facebook, and the whole realm of online Tropicana fans went ballistic about the packaging, flooding the internet with complaints. Well, Pepsi was listening and decided to tuck their tail and run back to the straw. Looks like Pepsi understands the Groundswell.

But I want to get back to the topic of this blog. Jennifer can cover the deeper branding implications, but is this really a step forward? On my morning program Linda Kaplan Thaler was on (and I never realized she was so...animated), and her take on the people's revolt was that:

"People can't control the state of the economy, they can't control the housing crisis, but they can control their carton of orange juice. They can go in there, blog about it, write it, and change it. They feel empowered."
OK - maybe - but since when? I have never felt like I can control what companies do with their products. When something changes for the worse, I usually just switch brands or deal with it. But now, people CAN force companies to change. However, I am not convinced that this is moving forward. Is the carton really that important, or have we become so consumerized (is that a word?) that we are getting so caught up in superficial nonsense like our orange juice packaging? It seems to me that if people want to control the economy and the housing crisis, all of the tools they just used to passionately plea for a new picture (or, rather, reverting back to the old design) on the carton of their morning juice could be used to try and sway lawmakers and the powers that be about important things.

Maybe I just don't understand because I don't drink orange juice - it's possible. But I just can't believe that getting Pepsi to change Tropicana's packaging is really engaging people over anything that meaningful. But I do concede that it does demonstrate the power of the new tools consumers and ordinary folks have available.


  1. With the current economic conditions and what with companies cutting the ounces, the mg, and the 'fluff', and no change in price? I personally found the Tropicana label to be no surprise.

    I seen it, drew my own conclusions and then the news and stories and lash back if you will. Not surprised just irritated.

    **I did look over and under 'their new white jug' for the one I normally buy for my Tropicana OJ; only to find that the plain jug was my brand of juice.**

    DO they think we are a bunch of mindless ‘sheep’ milling through isles and isles of food, paper and personal products; as if we have no thoughts and are just going to follow their lead. *go figure*

    Yeah right, keep taking more here & taking more there, and expecting us to keep forking out the same/more bucks for your products?

    Right on, next email, more phone calls and BAM! I'm not buying your 'stupid' products anymore.

    As a married mom of 2 in a one income family, I am not hurting as much as most people and family I know, so I suppose making a change to a Brand/Label/Company who I am maybe not 100% happy with -but happier than before, might be easier for me, than let's say my sister or neighbor.

    But for crying out loud, it's less about the packaging, I think, and more about the herding sheep and dishing us 'SH*T*, accept it folks attitude, feeling that irks me.
    I will try many things before I settle on a particular store (local or not), restaurant, food mart, etc.

    First price catches me, then how I am treated by the employees, the atmosphere, etc of a store/mart, next I would say taste of product and so on.

    -Now if the price is right, the place is right, and the taste is for the birds, I start over. Re-think the price, keep or move the place, then try another brand for taste, etc.

    My family is relying on me and I will pay relatively more for a product and if happy, will return again.

    Now I guess the way to sum up my experience, feelings and thoughts about this particular change in our era of life is this, If I find that you've:
    1. Pissed me off via viewpoint on some level,
    2. I Don’t like the charity you honor,
    3. I Disagree with the person you choose to sponsor,
    4. I Do not want to accept the change you've made to food which affects taste and so on...I'M GONE!

    -You had me there, I bought your product, I was yours hook line and sinker and you lost me [whatever the reason]. You paid those advertising fees and it worked.

    Then as quick as my Blackberry can deliver me a piece of email that I might not have time to check the legitimacy of yet....I'm done!

    At least for that moment......

    I do my home work too.
    I see if I am being fair, run it by the 'better half' [his opinion counts too :o)], THEN and only then do I make my decision.

    NOW, others may not be so nice, they hear a story, get ticked/emotional, move on if able and then there goes your market share.

    CATCH 22.....but then again you are here to serve/service us and we can be loyal as all hell; yet demanding as a newborn looking for his milk, crying when we don’t get it.

    So, honestly do I care if the jug is more white, less colorful if the product is still the same, not really. BUT, when I keep looking and start thinking more about the who's, the why's and the what nots I get inspired for change. DO I, HAVE I, Not yet.

    Anyway, I did enjoy your site, checked out some blogs and felt I had more to say on this than any other right now.
    More thoughts on other things here later.


  2. Thanks for the mention Alex! It seems crazy to believe that consumers could have such an impact on a giant corporation like Pepsi. But it seems like if companies are not listening and not embracing the Groundswell thinking, then they are missing out on opportunities. I agree with you when you said that when you don't like something you just switch or at least just bitch a little to friends etc. You don't create a whole commotion!