As a category leader, PepsiCo's Tropicana has always recognized the integral role that packaging plays in the success of its brand. From its early beginnings in 1954 Bradenton, FL, to its current success as a leading international juice brand, Tropicana has undergone many packaging design iterations.
A long-time partner of PepsiCo Canada, Toronto branding and design firm Shikatani Lacroix was asked to refresh a line of five juices in the Tropicana family for the Canadian market. The new designs had to stand out from the other Tropicana lines but still align with the entire Tropicana portfolio.
In order for the cartons to stand out, it was important for Shikatani Lacroix to identify specific brand attributes that would quickly connect with consumers. This approach is based on Shikatani Lacroix's design philosophy, the Blink Factor - the idea that consumers often make split-second buying decisions so the packaging needs to connect with consumers in the "blink of an eye."
"Packaging must support how customers shop," says Jean-Pierre Lacroix, president of Shikatani Lacroix. "Since the abundance of choice on shelf overwhelms consumers, the ability for them to rely on quick, visual reference points becomes critical.
“It is important to clearly understand which key elements contribute to creating effective split-second brand connections at store level."
The human eye deciphers elements in the following order: colour, shape, imagery, and then words. According to Lacroix, this visual shorthand on packaging creates strong shelf visibility, which attracts attention and connects with consumers on both a functional and emotive level. A well-produced product image, such as a smiling face or an appealing food shot, is likely to evoke a much more memorable and positive association with the product than the written product descriptions or claims, he adds.
On the new Tropicana packaging, Shikatani Lacroix placed a strong emphasis on colour to help consumers distinguish between the various flavours - cranberry cocktail, orange cranberry, cranberry raspberry cocktail, lemonade, and grape.
"The use of bright colours and bold photography makes the flavour separation very clear and distinguishable for the consumer," says designer Matt Farrugia.
The predominantly white backdrop helps the vibrant fruit imagery pop, creating a bright, clean, and fresh look for the carton. The wood texturing underneath the fruit imagery adds a premium quality feel to the packaging. And the fruit canopy on the top of the carton maximizes the use of this small piece of real estate to further distinguish the individual juice flavours.
"We decided to continue using fruit on the canopy instead of just colour, like some of the other Tropicana packaging, to make the flavours clearly identifiable to the consumer," says Karen Mattucci, packaging manager, beverages at PepsiCo Beverages Canada.
Through colour recognition and memorable photography, the resulting packaging design successfully captures the Blink Factor. The attractive combination of shapes and colours reinforces consumers' perception of the Tropicana brand and gives the packaging a current and fresh look and feel.
"Leveraging the Blink Factor gives the Tropicana brand a visual competitive advantage and creates a strong emotional link to its desired target group," says Lacroix. "Brands need to work harder than ever at connecting and engaging with consumers. The ability to foster a preference in the blink of an eye becomes paramount."