New Look, Same Great Product!

The question is, are there really a significant number of people who would otherwise be baffled by a company redesigning their product’s packaging if not for the phrase in the thread title?

More to the point, I suppose, is the marketing question. Before companies started placing that “disclaimer” on their redesigned packages, did the historical market trends show a tendency for sales to drop immediately after a package redesign?

Marketing departments lie* in wait like leopards for opportunities to splash NEW! and IMPROVED! and GREAT! on tired old products.

  • I could just put the period here, I suppose.

All true, but I think the question is “why?”.

The answer to that question is usually “because it tested well”.

I just had the experience of not being able to tell if the product I was looking at in the store was the same thing I usually bought, because the packaging was completely different.

A lot of people buy “the red box” or “The one with the banner” rather than actually reading anything. So yes, box redesign does throw people for a loop.

And when the name changes, brand loyalists can get flustered and may walk out without buying your stuff. I was myself when I couldn’t find Lipton noodles and sauce anymore. I don’t like the “off” brands, I like Lipton’s. And I only buy them once or twice a year, so I missed the “NEW NAME!” marketing. I had to go online to find out WTF happened to Lipton noodles and sauce, instead of buying Knorr’s.
(And they did so change the recipe, I don’t care what they say. Harrumph!)

I think it’s also another sleight-of-hand at changing the net weight without people noticing, they’re so involved with the “new look” they don’t see it’s an ounce lighter.

NEW is one of the most powerful words in marketing*. However, the FTC has rules as to how long you can use the word (six months (scroll down to almost the end)) and regulations as to what actually is meant by it. To use it, there has to be some change in the product.

Changing design is allowed, as long as you’re referring to the design of the container. Thus putting “NEW LOOK” on the container lets you use the attention grabbing word “NEW” without running afoul of other FTC regulations if the product has been unchanged.

*“Free” is even better.

FWIW in some parts of the world there are government dictated price controls on " basic goods".
I was connected with the south american country marketing director for a large " soap, detergent and all that stuff" company who said that whilst they had to keep selling the basic product at the predfined rates, the rates and govenrment oversight extended to " premium brands" so they were in a constant battle to repackage rebrand the products to show something new so they could keep margins in the face of some fairly comical actual inflation ( gov reported inflation would have won the Man Boooker prize for fiction) . They may have also been trying to raise profits as well , i know bad people.

Or worse: changing a product to make it look like another product by the same company . . . for no reason whatsoever.

A&W Diet Root Beer and Diet Cream Soda used to be obviously different. The root beer can was brown and red, while the cream soda can was red, white and blue. What did these morons do? they redesigned both, and changed the cream soda colors to . . . you guessed it . . . brown and red. They look different only when you put the cans next to each other. And yes, I’m switching brands.

I used to work for the company behind Lipton. Before I started, they redesigned the box for Lipton tea. The old look had a picture of Sir Thomas Lipton on the box, and was quite recognizable. It was deemed that Lipton tea was not appealing to the younger demographic, so they took Sir Thomas off of the box and changed things around. I think that they also reformulated the product at that time. It did not go well for them, so they had to put stickers on the boxes with Sir Thomas’s picture.

The Lipton to Knorr change was more for global reasons. Lipton really never had any business being in side dishes. The company had acquired Knorr by purchasing Bestfoods. Knorr also had side dishes, so a multi year campaign began to change the Lipton side dish line to Knorr. First it was Lipton-Knorr with Lipton’s name much bigger than Knorr’s. Over time the sizes became comparable, then switched to Knorr-Lipton and eventually just Knorr.

Not my company, but a fairly recent packaging change from Tropicana Orange Juice fell on its face really fast. Some details here.

Because studies show that plastering such words on products tend to boost sales. I think there’s a certain degree of voodoo involved, since about a third of the products on any one shelf seem to have these sell-words applied, but it’s believed and so any chance to throw a splash or banner on a box is taken.

Marketing is a science about on a par with astrology - a lot of it works for no particularly good reason, but the true believers think they know the secrets of the universe.

That’s how magazines (used to) change their names as well.

Same story here - they changed the colour of my shaving cream/gel can. I think it took me about 3 purchases of grabbing whatever off the shelf before I realized the stuff was still there, but blue not orange. Off the top of my head, I could not tell you the brand; I just know it worked.

The moral - unless the name is really well known, be careful messing with the label.

This. Really aggravating. I went looking for a facial cleanser I like and since I knew it by its package and did not have the list of ingredients memorized, I wasn’t sure the new thing was the same. Finally I took off the cap and recognized it by the smell. Grrr.

Some really good answers here! Thanks :slight_smile:

new, jumbo, improved, with Fahrvergnügen.

Not only does it reassure actual loyal customers, it also creates the impression that there are many loyal customers who love the product and need to be reassured that it hasn’t changed.

I’ll admit that it makes a difference with me.

I’m rarely brand loyal, but when I do like one product over another, it’s for little reasons and even a small change is enough to send me back to buying based on criteria other than brand (like cost). If you don’t reassure me that there’s no real change, I might not even give you a second try.

And any change can also be the impetus for me to finally drop a brand. I remember when MacAddict became MacLife… that convinced that a couple of years of declining satisfaction with the magazine were not a fluke. It wouldn’t be fair to say that the name change made me drop my subscription, but it was the proverbial last straw.