What's with the refreshes in 2009????

After noticing the appalling Pepsi and Tropicana refresh design I started to notice that many other brands were starting to do this as well. There were brands that I didn’t even think were that old that started to change their looks. Some for the better and some not but all the same for some reason this was the year to do it. Did it have something to do with the economy? Did these companies think that if they gave their brands new life then it would increase their sales?

I am very interested to hear everyone’s thoughts. I have attached a few examples, but please join in and add to the collection.


Whoah, some definite “web 2.0” stylings going on with those new Shredded Wheat packages!

And that BOUNCE is definitely a rave flier, circa 1992.

There may be a more sinister reason than sales: a lot of packaged goods are doing the old switcheroo with portion-sizes while maintaining even prices. So if they’re switching to a smaller box, they may as well switch up the design too.

I agree and trust me with being a candy company we have gotten hit really hard with the portion control problem and have done some minor refreshes, but some brands have done complete 180s. The shredded wheat looks cleaner and a bit more modern but when you see it on shelf it just looks like a solid color. It also does not say the brand to me and I think this is true with a lot of them. Doing a refresh is one thing , changing the brand identity is another and my question is what for? Why now? Why are so many companies doing it now? Just seems like a strange trend to me.

I found this one today!! Excuse the grainy camera phone quality.

I think maybe we’re seeing a little bit of the “Obama Effect” here with the styling, simple, soft, communicative.

It seems also that economic factors are in play as well. I think some of it is a play on perceptions. Price on these types of goods is a bigger factor right now than in a good economy. Bargain brands typically have had less sophisticated simpler design and consumers associate that aesthetic with lower cost. It makes some sense, lower the quantity, simplify the look, shave a few cents off the price?

But there’s a balance between cheap looking and simple, established brands should be careful how they roll this stuff out.

Not too mention the retro styling that the growing numbers of baby boomer retirees identify with.

Saw the OREO and RITZ at Target last week and pointed to tell my wife, before I spoke she said (about the Ritz), eww that’s like the new Pepsi box"
I was a little proud and responded, “The Arnell Group strikes again.”
Did they do these? anybody know?
I don’t mind the OREO as much, ofcourse I have never been a big Oreo fan outside of blizzards.

@ CG, I think I went to bounce, Mark Almaria’s set was amazing. (kidding)

Am I the only one that read Bounce as Bounoe?

I was there too! but really, I wish I had saved all those rave fliers. Never thought there would be a time when I looked back on them fondly, it seemed that was an aspect of life that would never change, youth…

What about the Kraft mayo / dressing refreshes? Did these happen last year? I think these are actually pretty nice. And the packaging has changed, but in this example I’m only comparing the label design.

I don’t remember where I read this, probably from one of you, but I had heard one of the motivations for some of the blander looking refreshes, (kraft shredded chese, I’m looking at you) was that they wanted to look generic to associate with the rising popularity of store brands.

This was mentioned in the Tropicana thread. This I struggle with because I think it cheapens your brand. There is growing market in private label but I think in general people pay premiums for brands that they know and enjoy. example is that I will pay more for Tropicana orange juice because I know it is not from concentrate where as the private label may be the same but is perceived as being cheaper and not as high quality. So with this in mind I do not know why you would want to bring your brand that people love and enjoy down to that level. You then are no longer premium.

I love those new Mayo Pkg. I think they did a great job making the product feel light, healthy, and organic. I also think that the new shape help with the usage.

I think a good friend of mine may still have his old scrapbook of flyers, Ill look into this.

I still have all of mine from the different raves I DJ’ed, nice memories. More of the rave flyer graphics guys should do regular product graphics, that would be interesting!

Alot of the graphic changes are because many of the brands are owned by the same parent company going through similar changes. For example, Snapple is owned by Pepsi bottling group.

I can’t speak for Nabisco products but all of Kraft’s product lines will be going through changes now or in the next year or so. They’re going through some heavy personnel changes followed by re-alignment in their creative group.

Lastly, as CG stated many packages are also going through portion adjustments. So when the dies are being adjusted, it’s also a great time to modify the graphic plates as well.

I do get this. like I mentioned we went through some graphic changes on our sugar brands when we acquired Wrigley. What I do not get is the type of changes they are going through. Take the Ritz and Oreo for example. This may be exclusively to Target and if it is than just ignore the example, but they went 180 degrees away from what they were in the past. It looks completely different and even too far out that it looses the product identity. This can also be said about Pepsi, Tropicana (we saw what that caused), and others.

Refreshing your brand is great and needs to be done to keep you current, but when does it go too far. Coke refreshed their brand and did a superb job. They stripped everything out of their graphics except for their logo. This was a great example of modernizing their packaging and still keeping that identity.

My thoughts-

  1. Was also going to mention the Obama graphics as leading the way to a new graphics approach. Dunno if it’s a graphic trend thing or an underlying “new” societial perception given the change in administration changing the appeal for “new”

  2. For sure the packaging volume (reducing - google grocery shrink ray) I think may have something to do with it.

  3. As has been done after the Great Depression, new designs, packaging, are tried and true ways to stimulate purchasing. in fact, if you look at history, much of the ID trends now prevalent (new cars every season, facelifts of products proclaiming “NEW”, “IMPROVED” were first created in a similar economic climate that needed to drive sales.

In my mind, this is all nothing new, though perhaps the rationale behind some of these rebrands is lacking indeed, and perhaps some are more correctly executed than others.


i think this was brought up in the Tropicana thread. i have no idea where this comes from :neutral_face: if there was popularity for private label my thoughts are that it is simply cheaper, nothing to do with the packaging, so to make a brand name product look generic with the pretense that it will somehow make the consumer think its cheaper is a quantum leap to me, but to assume that consumers actually are buying based on private label design is an even bigger one.

but maybe this is true in the foods market, its not my area of expertise at all.

for the kraft mayo… i think its a nicer design, but i know im accustomed to seeing the old one, and i will not recognize the new one on the shelf, at least the first few times i go to look for it.
But as nice and clean as the new one is there is something to be said for the punch of that big yellow shield on the old one. I guess maybe thats what we are seeing here is packaging going to good design on its own, as opposed to having to be bold and eye catching on the shelf, which i think in a supermarket scenario is important and a different approach is being tried in these examples.

I just noticed these yesterday. In this case, the update is driven by the packaging going from foil to a 100% bio-degradable material (polylactic acid (PLA))

Frito-Lay is emphasizing an earth-friendly theme across the entire product line in it’s “commitment by PepsiCo, Frito-Lay`s
parent, to reduce the company’s impact on the environment through water, energy and packaging initiatives.”


Foil Bags

33% Recycled Material Bag

[ Note “Photoshop” work.]

Here’s more on kinder, gentler graphics refreshes

the funniest is Blackwater. Just not the same impact as its predecessor but I guess that’s the point.