Brown Forman just announced a revised and revamped package for Jack Daniel’s. Bloggers and industry observers are starting to weigh in on the pluses and minuses, so I thought I’d jump in as well.
Once upon a time, manufacturers were frightened of package changes. Concerns about loss of heritage and denigrating the brand’s equity were always the main “don’t do it” arguments. But the most damaging concern was “what will the consumer think.” Over the years, I’ve even heard it said that a package change would suggest a product change and result in erosion of appeal among consumers.
Baloney. Well, sort of.
If a packaging shift involves walking away from the key elements of a brand’s equity then it is doomed. The best recent example of that is the fiasco with Tropicana. The main icon, an orange with a straw, was removed in favor of a nondescript glass of juice. As you may recall, the package change effort was a disaster and Pepsico reverted to the original in a hurry.
However, if a manufacturer evolves or tweaks the packaging by removing the clutter, making it less wordy and updating the message, I believe it enhances the consumer relationship and brand equity. I haven’t seen the new package as yet but from what I’ve read, the new Jack Daniel’s look does just that. Good for you for making the brave call.
One last thought — I call it the chicken soup approach to marketing. Turning a brand’s performance around based on packaging changes, major or minor, is like chicken soup when you have a cold. It may not help but it can’t hurt.