On holiday in France over Xmas, I was interested to see that Tropicana Smoothies were on sale. I posted on the UK launch last year here.
Being the sad brandaholic I am, I spotted that the pack design was different to that pack used in the UK. The French have gone for a "food mixer" visual, whereas the UK pack has a visual of a plant made up of the combinations of fruits in each version. Even the logo for "Smoothie" has a different typeface. These differences appear based on a subjective call on the better graphics (mixer vs. fruit), rather than for any cultural reasons.
This surprized me, given that Tropicana is part of Pepsico, who I would have thought would have been into pan European branding. Also, competitor innocent smoothies has kept intact their "little angel" pack design as it has rolled out to Holland and France. They have also invested in local creative talent to write the innocent-style pack copy, but with a "local accent"
By going local, Tropicana are missing out on some interesting benefits:
1. "Economies of scale": with one design there are potential savings in packagaing materials and manufacturing. For example, Pampers packs have multiple languages on, allowing the factory to churn out millions of packs without the need to change the line.
2. "Economies of Ideas": this is the more important source of economies. By combining forces and budgets from different markets, you should be able to get a better, bigger idea.
3. Shared marketing: having different pack designs makes it harder to have shared communication, if the pack is featured in the advertising. You need to shoot 2 commercials, or spend money on re-shooting.
4. Speed of roll-out: it should be faster to roll out new flavours, as you only have on pack to change. For example, the UK's Winter Smoothie, Spiced Apple, would have been quicker to launch in France if they had the same design.
So, why go local? Here are a few guesses. Would love to get the inside story from anyone working at Pepsico who wants to comment (annonymously if they wish!)
1. Local production: if the packaging is done in France, as I think it probably is, being a chilled product, there are no opportunities for economies of scale in manufacturing a la Pampers
2. Go with the best in test: given there are fewer economies of scale, perhaps they tested the designs and went with the best in each market.
3. Save management time: persuading European markets to come on board with a single design can be a royal pain in the ass. I experienced this first hand on Head & Shoulders. Every country in the world wanted to take the bottle out of the box it was sold in to i) save millions, ii) make the brand less medicinal looking. But the French wanted the box to stay, so they paid to keep it for the brand in their market.
4. Product issue, not brand issue: the Tropcican brand is consistent between France and UK, only the product descriptor is changing. With innocent, the issue is a brand one, and so its more important to have the same design for the smoothies (though I see even new products such as Kids Smoothies have the same design).
At the end of the day, the answer is to follow our favourite brandgymblog saying: "FOLLOW the MONEY", by weighing up:
1. Business benefits:
- What are the costs savings from sharing a design?
- What edge can we get in speed to market and roll out of new products?
- The amount of time, hassle and money to get agreement
- The potential loss in product appeal from using a European design that performs poorly in a key local market.
I think the way to go on this would be to have a European design recommendation, and agree to go with it unless a mejor market can prove in quant test that they have a better design.