Friday, January 23, 2009

New From Tropicana

Last week when I was buying orange juice, I noticed the Tropicana pack had a fresh new look, a (somewhat syntactically challenging) new line 'Squeeze, it's a natural' and an on-pack initiative committing to save the rainforest with every carton. All of the above were a bit of a surprise from a brand which seemed to have been plodding along almost unnoticed for some time, the rainforest piece in particular (although the site for entering our barcode was not functioning last week, it is now).

Then yesterday's New York Times covered significant steps Pepsico has taken to better understand the carbon intensity of the total Tropicana supply chain and plans to mitigate it. This latter move in particular is  a sign of the times; signals from the new administration, and the ambition of the UN, are that 2009 will be the year we agree to put a true price on carbon. Brands that move ahead of the pack will be better placed to prosper in the new green economy, plus first-mover advantage confers greater visibility.

From a comms perspective, it's interesting that the Times story made no mention of the rainforest initiative. It seems Pepsico is tailoring its messaging to different targets; the more complex supply chain story to the business crowd and the engaging, participatory opportunity to the everyday Tropicana drinker.

A big question mark remains about the synergy between the two initiatives. For while oranges and rainforests are both growing things, and some agriculture is hugely damaging to rainforests, are Tropicana's oranges? Perhaps the greater brand-building opportunity would have been to achieve synergy between these two initiatives.

I am anxious to see how Tropicana drinkers respond. Bringing the rainforest issue to the breakfast table is a nice way to encourage families to share the topic, and a laudable example of a brand using its real estate to educate and engage.

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