Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Trop Debate: Really?

Recently we posted on Tropicana's new packaging and sustainability messaging. Tropicana, and its parent company Pepsico, have finally started looking at the carbon impact of its supply chain in earnest; as well as launched a new rainforest protection program.

Our post (as always) was intended to highlight a movement by a major brand and spark some debate. And there indeed was debate about the new Tropicana. But not about the relative merit of a sustainability program, or the value of transparency, but about the look of the new carton.

If you haven't followed the story, here's an article from the New York Times (yes, really!). In short, outraged consumers flooded the social media sites, fueled the press and forced Tropicana to return to the old carton. As a marketer, I'm reminded that brands aren't really owned by companies anymore: they belong to the consumer. As a Sustainability marketer, I'm reminded how emotional (and uneasy) people are about change, and how we more often look backward than forward.

So now I have a new gold standard to compare our sustainability communications efforts: a carton of juice. If people care as much about what's in the carton (or how the carton got to the store in the first place) as what's printed on the outside, we all win.

Rage on!

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