killing the snapple brand softly

Snapple use to be a fun, innovative brand. It had great advertising with the Snapple woman, Howard Stern loved it and it seemed primed for bigger and better things…then it was sold and sold again and under the aegis of Cadbury Schweppes, it seems, to paraphrase one commenter, primed for sale to Coke or Pepsi.

Where to start? Maybe at the dated, still-not-redesigned packaging for the core product:

This is the best part of their product line-up because, though old, at least the design and logo are recognizable as Snapple. Especially the logo. There is a lot of equity in that logo…equity that the brand is stepping away from in their new Juice (that isn’t 100% juice) product:

Crappy vertical Snapple type, no more blue or red, no oval around the type. Completely forgettable. Oh, and still on shelf next to the base product…and next to the new Antioxidant Water product. Not only is this clearly a Glaceau knock-off, not only is it late to the game, not only does the label look like a cheap sales sample because of the heavy paper and crappy glue, but it has a different logo than the above products even though it sits on shelf next to them:

Let’s finish it off with the fourth product in the Snapple line-up. Also boasting a different logo treatment, the new Tea products actually taste good, but still have to sit on shelf next to the other Snapple products even though it looks nothing like any of the others. This is Branding 101. Snapple fails:

Maybe if Snapple had a bigger budget they could pull off creating all of the sub-brands as separately branding entities…but that’s a stretch. Not even Coca-Cola strays too far from the fonts and colors that make products identifiably Coke. They do that because it makes sense, because consumers want recognizable brands and products and because if they are going to spend a shit ton of money to build a brand they don’t plan to throw it away with a product design that doesn’t connect to the brand they have built.

These packages are atrocious not because they are bad designs, though it doesn’t really help Snapple’s case that they are, but because consumers driven to buy (or driven to passive preference) via advertising end up on shelf not knowing what the hell is going on.

To top it all off a little Plano-based birdie tells me that Cadbury Schweppes’ in-house production and pre-press shop Group 360, which brands itself as a digital asset management and workflow solutions shop and whose in-every-way-horrible website tells you all you need to know about the agency’s design capabilities, is going to be handling the base Snapple packaging redesign.

Not a bad gig for a bunch of low-rent studio artists and totally fitting for what the brand has become.

It’s just too bad that it’s gotten this far.

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7 responses to “killing the snapple brand softly

  1. That’s too bad.
    I really like Snapple – as a consumer, that is.
    The fact that they’re getting into the vitamin water game is a shame too- just more calories for people who think they’re doing something healthy.

    Your points about Branding 101 are well taken. You wonder what they’re thinking, but my guess is someone suggested a management structure with over-empowered division heads who all decided to go their separate ways.

  2. Unproven ad theory here, but I think they’re one of those brands that didn’t change, while everyone else around them started doing the things they used to.

    Everyone has either a homespun illustrated label or a funky one nowadays. The label that was once unique doesn’t stand out in such a crowded category, because Sobe, Arizona or even a Fuze look way cooler to drink. Snapple could Nestea or Lipton.

    And the biggest point of difference that they could claim “Made from the best stuff on Earth” is lost on the Vitamin water freaks. (How much of an easier health claim can you make when freaking ‘vitamin’ is in your logo/name, ya know?)

  3. (Snapple could be Nestea or Lipton.)

  4. Have to disagree bg – I think the old label/logo was very distinctive.
    It was BIG – I mean they took your “Make The Logo Bigger” mantra to heart);

    And it wasn’t as crunchy granola as the other brands you mention. The bottles were a unique shape too. They really stood out.

    THe health claim isn’t a big deal– and they could hit back by showing how full of sugar all those “vitamin” waters are. Far more calories than Snapple, esp. Diet Snapple

  5. @ BG – I agree that Snapple stood still while other brands and products barged in on their territory. They have been late to the game and second best on innovation, advertising and, clearly, packaging design

    @ Toad – I agree about the logo. There is a lot of equity wrapped up in it and the only bad move is to do what Snapple has done – bastardize it beyond recognizability to the point that there are four different logo versions on the same shelf. It makes no sense from a branding perspective, esp with Snapple’s limited budget. They are running spots that drive consumers to a shelf where they can’t tell what is Snapple and what isn’t even from among Snapple’s own products!

  6. oh its the “in-house creatives” that did this re-design Makes sense. Its the people who are closests to the brand and doing the most work for it that end up re-designing it when no re-design is necessary. they get so sick and tired of doing the same thing they just can not WAIT to change it …. which always results in something stupid like this.

  7. I disagree with Toad. Snapple juices (with the exception of the diet dirnks) have more calories and sugar than even sodas. They get away with it by “fitting” more than one serving in a bottle (lowering the numbers on the nutrition facts). Snapple is as bad as Vitamin Water when it comes to health benefits, plus they don’t use real juice either in their regular Snapples. I think all they had as far as marketing goes was their first-to-the-juice-game recognizability and their logo.

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