Tropicana and the erratic historical discourse


After failing to launch its new packaging in the United States – announced by a return to the former design and a loss of 35 million dollars in the reworking and the media campaign – Tropicana, a PepsiCo subsidiary, continues with its chaotic communication.

Yet, the brand marked itself out with an event operation, bringing an artificial sun to the inhabitants of Inuvik, an Arctic town deprived of natural light in winter. Supposing the idea is nice, the video moving and the “Brighter mornings for brighter days” campaign relevant, the event was found hardly environmental and in total contradiction with Tropicana green positioning.

Lately, Tropicana products for France have displayed a new text recalling the historical basis of the brand. The text is quite disconcerting… One can read the following words: “Our story begins in 1947 whereas Anthony Rossi, our founder, is the first to have understood that oranges are not alike. To obtain the best juice, he chose to look for the best oranges and decided to treat nature with respect (…)”.

On the Internet site of the brand, the historical discourse does mention the foundation date of 1947 but forgets about the speeches concerning oranges that are not alike and the avant-garde decision to treat nature with respect… There we learn about Rossi’s beautiful success: Rossi is a Sicilian owning a grocery, who emigrated to Florida – “a region famous for the quality of its citrus fruits”. He conceived a train that transported millions of orange juice liters as far as New York. An advertisement for a vacation village inspired him the name of Tropicana. “This name, which evokes the tropics, the sun, sounds perfect for his juice”. The other three dates of the “Fabulous history” of Tropicana are the launching dates of the products in France, as a result of a cultural marketing.

There is no mention of the self-taught path of the brand founder, of the technical innovations in terms of packaging, of the exotic “Tropic-Ana” character or of the detailed story of the “Juice train”, painted in the brand’s colors and travelling throughout the United States.

Tropicana 2

Some brands create themselves a story to exist, others tell it with more or less omissions and talent. The rich and exciting story of Tropicana possesses all the elements for a perfect saga. With its incoherent discourse, the brand brilliantly shows the dangers and limits of a mere historical story without any logic nor guiding principle.

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