Is Snapple's New Product Design for Better or For Worse?
September 27th, 2021
By: Janny Hong
In the past few years, the classic ice tea company Snapple went through some major product design changes. In late 2017, Snapple introduced a plastic version of their iconic glass bottle. A year later, they changed and both the bottle and logo design changed. How have these marketing changes impacted their reputation and sales?
Why change to plastic bottles?
Well, there are actually a lot of environmental benefits to switching to plastic, according to Snapple. Since its plastic bottles are made of 100% recycled plastic, Snapple uses 75% less energy compared to producing new plastic bottles and reduces the number of bottles made every year (600 million bottles to be exact), which helps reduce water and land pollution. Moreover, the bottles are made with 80% less material and are lighter than the original glasses. Therefore, more bottles can be shipped, eliminating 8,500 trucks and ultimately reducing CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it is easier for people to recycle plastic than glass bottles.
In addition to becoming more eco-friendly, switching to plastic bottles helped Snapple cut production expenses. Producing fewer bottles and using fewer trucks ultimately helps it minimize material and shipping costs.
Why does product design matter?
Product designs are one of the biggest deciding factors when shopping. Especially when it comes to packaging, as it is the last opportunity to make an impression for a sale. Product designs are one of the main ways to differentiate a product from its competitors as it sets the reputation of the product. For example, the previous McDonald’s building designs clearly catered towards children by using a lot of brightly colored plastic while the more recent McDonald’s buildings are more mature and serious with the wooden designs.
In regards to Snapple, the previous logo gave Snapple a “notable and respectable look” while the glass bottles made the drinker feel cool. The new logo has a round bold font with solid colors; this is a trend seen in many companies (such as Burger King, Pringles, and Mastercard) where brands use solid colors, bold print, and remove any details. As one of the oldest American ice tea brands, Snapple has the competitive advantage of being known as the quintessential ice tea drink. However, by following this modern trend, Snapple is essentially throwing away this competitive advantage.
How have people responded?
I personally miss Snapple’s iconic glass bottle, but I know I’m not the only one. Like the other companies that recently made the switch to a simpler design, Snapple also has received some negative feedback and questioning, especially on its social media pages. Upset customers asked why it changed its bottles and petitioned to bring back the glass bottles; some celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian questioned Snapple’s decision as well.
Some of the most common complaints are that the taste changed due to the plastic bottling; according to one customer, this is because “the iced tea [having] a reaction with the plastic”. Another complaint is that the opening of the plastic bottles is bigger than the original bottle, resulting in easy spills. In addition, many customers share that the reason why they choose Snapple over other ice tea brands in the glass bottles that make it feel like a high-quality drink; by changing to plastic, Snapple is essentially dropping its status from a high-class drink to one that’s no different from cheap brands.
Looking into the future…
Despite the upset customer posts and articles, one can expect Snapple sales to stay relatively the same. As news editor Clem pointed out, at one point Gatorade also made the same switch from glass containers to plastic, yet people continue to buy Gatorade. As long as Snapple keeps its fun fact caps and delicious ice tea flavors, I think we can expect Snapple to stay around for a while.
Does the Snapple Logo Redesign make you happy or disappointed? Comment below with your opinions!
Janny Hong is a Junior at Stern studying Operations Management and Computing & Data Science. She is one of the Co-Content Directors for Fall 2021. Check out her vertical about Interviewing Marketing Society Alumni!