Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes

Over the past month or so several consumer products have updated their logo and package design.  These design changes become a very tricky task as updating the package and logo can help make the product look and feel more contemporary and thus drive sales; or too much of a change may confuse the consumer and make the product difficult to find on a stores shelves.

Pepsi is a great example of a package and logo design that worked well, while Tropicana orange juice is an example of a design that failed.  In fact, the Tropicana changed created such negative buzz as consumers simply didn’t like the change and found it extremely difficult to identify the product in the refrigerated case.  And once the item was found on the shelves consumers felt that the OJ seemed like a generic product like store brand OJ.  Tropicana sales immediately declined and they lost much of their premium positioning, eventually Tropicana decided to scrap the change and revert back to their previous package and logo.


Meanwhile Pepsi’s revision was both an enhancement and a drastic change.  Pepsi slightly updated the iconic globe logo but completely modified the Pepsi font.  The update proved successful and the product package and new logo continue to be found at your local grocery store shelves.

Now Pepsi & Tropicana are just two of the more popular and recent examples of package design.  Marketers and designers spend numerous hours design, researching and meticulously crafting a new identity in the hopes for increase brand exposure and sales.

Ok, sorry to sound like a marketing 101 professor but I wanted to provide some background as to why product designs are made and the implications they have.

Let’s get to the meat of the story.

As mentioned above, there are three products that have recently redesigned their packaging and or logo; Samuel Adams Winter Lager, Kellog’s Mini Wheats and Tostitos chips.  The end goal for each was to appeal to the consumer and drive sales.

I am an avid purchaser of all of the below items and feel it is necessary to easily locate them whatever store I may be in.  So let’s take a look at each of these changes and see if I am let down or all in.

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

sam adams

I like the fact that Sam Adams updates their packaging for the seasonal beers annually.  However, I felt they had a strong identity last year with the blending of blue hues and snow flakes in their label design.  It provided a sense of winter and was easily identified in the stores.

Their 2012 update focuses on a backdrop of a hearth and fireplace mixed with an over abundance of earth tones.  This does provide a homely sense but is not very appealing to me as it seems to simply blend in with their label for Boston Lager and does not create a greater separation of their product line.

I recently purchased a 12 pack of Winter Lager but it took me a few moments to locate the item as it no longer stands out.

Grade: C-

Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats

mini wheats

I am all for brand consistency.  I live and breathe it every day.  However, there are times when too much of a similar design coupled with muted colors is a greater distraction.  That’s exactly how I feel for new design of Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats.

Yes, I do believe my favorite cereal right now is Strawberry Frosted Mini-Wheats and it is the most purchased in my house.

Previously the Mini Wheats had bolder colors, whether that was for Original  Blueberry or Strawberry or the myriad of others.  See the pink color just POP in the old design. Kellogg’s created a template design that slightly changes box colors and simply replaces one flavor name for another.  One a very recent purchase of a few boxes of Strawberry Frosted, hey they were on sale, it took me a few minutes to locate the desired item.  This is not the goal that the brand manager had in mind.  The changes do look good all lined up as you can see by the Mini-Wheats web site, but in action it does not come together.

Grade: C



Wow, a major setback.  Tostitos just fell into the trap of jumping on the latest font trend.  Their new logo and package, while modern and contemporary, loses all the equity and uniqueness of their previous logo.

Tostitos simply generalized their logo.  The once Santa Fe type feel is long gone and looks like a bag of Pop Chips of Quaker Popped rice snacks.  The packages have not hit stores in full scale as of yet, and since I feel the product will still be easy to find I don’t sense a decrease in sales.

But over time, what made Tostitos special and added to their premium price will come to hurt them.

Grade: B-

There you have it a dissection of product logos and packages.  I bet you never thought so much thought went into a new design and product roll-out.

Have you seen these changes at your local stores? What’s your opinion?  Are you more or less likely to purchase Sam Winter Lager, Mini-Wheats and Tostitos?


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