Arnell's "Explanation" of Failed Tropicana Design Resembles His Nonsensical Pepsi Document

Last Updated Feb 26, 2009 1:25 PM EST

When he launched a new design for Tropicana, Peter Arnell gave a rambling, pseudo-intellectual explanation of the packaging.

This was the packaging that was just cancelled by Pepsico after it emerged that consumers really, really liked the old packaging.

But Arnell's explanation of the new trade dress -- captured on video by Ad Age -- rings familiar. Why? Because of Arnell Group's even more ludicrous explanation for its redesign of the Pepsi logo (that was the one where Pepsi is linked to the power of gravity and the Mona Lisa).

Here's a digest of Arnell's Tropicana explanation. Compare it with the Pepsi fiasco. One might argue that made-up bullshit is part of Arnell Group's DNA:
We thought it would be important to take this brand and bring it or evolve it into a more current or modern state.
Well, this is the problem, isn't it? Does orange juice really need to "evolve" into a "modern state"? Of course not. It just needs to be cold and fresh and taste strongly of oranges. But this is lost on Arnell.
Emotionally, it's still very, very difficult to, and it still remains difficult, for everyone to grasp the importance of that change because it's so dramatic.
Clue No. 2: If everyone finds your new concept "difficult" to grasp, then is this concept ready for the marketplace? No! Consumers have to be able to understand what you're doing.
Historically, we always show the outside of the orange. What was fascinating was that we had never shown the product called the juice.
"Historically"? Seriously? This is OJ, not sociology 101.
Having said that we wanted to take the orange and put it somewhere. We engineered this interesting little squeeze cap here ... so that the notion of squeezing the orange was implied ergonomically.
Note that the cap does not, in fact, squeeze. It's made of hard plastic. Why doesn't Arnell know this? More significantly, if the orange is so important, and the product is made of fresh oranges, does it really make sense to not show a picture of an orange on the box?
... the idea of course is to have a consistency between the purity of the juice, which is coming directly from the orange, the cap which you squeeze every day and of course the carton.
Here Arnell's explanation of the cap undermines the design he's just in created: If the orange is so important, why is it not on the box? If you listen closely to the way Arnell pauses when he says this, you can almost see the penny dropping inside his head.
... "squeeze" maintains a certain level of I guess power when it comes to this notion emotionally about what squeeze means like my squeeze or give me a squeeze or the notion of a hug or the ideas behind the power of love and the idea of transferring that love or converting that attitude between mom and the kids, right?
Again, if the cap could actually be squeezed, then some of this would make sense. But it can't. So it doesn't.

Ironically, the cap is the only part of the design that Tropicana is keeping. The company paid Arnell $35 million for his design and its "explanation."

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