Ad Age reports online today that the Gatorade brand will undergo some major shifts in response to an 18% sales decline earlier this year. The article says,
“Gatorade is looking to innovate itself out of a sales slump and will spend some $30 million on product and packaging development to do so. The granddaddy of the sports-drink category is pushing forward with plans to introduce “G Series,” a grouping of three product categories, while giving another facelift to its core product lines.”
This work includes the second redesign of the Thirst Quencher and G2 lines, this year. Big surprise, Arnell is reportedly not involved in the redesign.
The coverage in the last year, on the multi-brand Arnell debacle, has been extensive to say the least. There is little need to editorialize on the subject. I just hope that the brand design industry does not suffer unduly from our association with the gross incompetence of one firm. But I must admit that to solely blame Arnell is too easy.
As one of my colleagues mentioned recently, he has had several clients tell him at the beginning of the design process, “please don’t do an Arnell to our brand”. The tough part will be to look at what was apparently a systemic failure in the way brand value is appraised, consumer response anticipated, and design equity is assessed, then try and learn from the experience.
Finally, successful brands are by definition about the careful and deliberate building of equity over time. As Massimo d’Amore, CEO of PepsiCo’s Americas Beverages group said in the Ad Age piece, “When we announced the move to G, I said it would be a multi-year journey, and it is. This will probably be over a three year journey”. That is almost always true with my clients when we undergo the evolution of a brand with as much equity as Gatorade. With respect to Mr d’Amore, and as a devoted Gatorade consumer, I doubt that the journey plan included this redesign in year two.
Unfortunately, this latest episode adds another chapter to the design school and business school texts.