Of all the juicyjuicetastic drinks out there, I can only recognize Snapple. Even as I write this I couldn’t name off the top of my head other brands of juice drinks promising “100% Natural!”. But I know Snapple. When I want something more than water but less than soda, I go for an iced-tea lemon snapple or whatever other thing they might have — they all taste the same, except the red- or pink-colored ones, those taste like pomade. And I can spot a Snapple in a deli fridge among all the other finely-designed, colorfully-labeled bottles: I can do a quick scan for that weird sun that shows up in the iced teas, or the checkered or otherwise patterned cap, or, of course, the angled logo — but, unfortunately, it looks like all those recognizable traits and quick identifiers (for me at least) will soon be gone. In their place, a very slick look will replace this idiosyncratic brand, blurring the distinction between it and all those other nondescript bottles. Sigh.
The old bottles (above) weren’t particularly well designed to be honest, they had the look of a locally grown product with labels by the local artist who had been given free reign with 4-color printing. As the flavors and varieties of Snapple grew, the look became inconsistent and erratic with different styles of illustration, photography and typography in each bottle. But, as a whole, they managed to create a recognizable mess. Now, as Snapple expands into white teas, black teas, red teas, green teas AND tea blends, water, and more flavors, a new set of designs are being rolled out, although I’m not sure if any of these will now, or in the future, replace the current bottles. But, typically, with a new logo — designed by New York-based CBX — chances are that anything sporting the old logo will be displaced.
As I mentioned earlier, these bottles and the logo are slick — this is half compliment and half condemnation. Everything is very well considered and composed, from the textures in the background, to the fruit imagery, to the typography, but in everything that they have gained in execution they have lost in attitude. And, as I see it, these new bottles are perhaps a bigger reflection of an overall slump in the delivery of the Snapple we have grown accustomed to.
But more tellingly is the negligence towards the angled logo; not because it was superb identity design but because it implied a set of meanings and intentions, and discarding that logo indicates a move from the idiosyncratic and offbeat into the mainstream and bland. CBX shared with me that consumers did not see any equity in the angle of the logo (at 20 degrees, in case you were wondering) but I find that hard to believe — I am not calling them liars, I just literally find it hard to believe — as the Snapple logo has played a prominent role in the advertising, from the big logo hanging behind the Snapple Lady ads in the 90s, to the caps of Snapple bottles opening in the beginning of ads in the early 00s, to the big close-up of the caps in those weird Snapple-with-wigs ads from a couple of years ago. So the angle is gone. I don’t lament it, or the loss of the old logo. I do worry about the disconnect between the brand that Snapple has built upon irreverence and this new look is anything but. If the idea is to change Snapple into a new tame version, then, woohoo, this succeeds, but it’s hard to conceive of Snapple in another way. But then again, if their latest ads are any indication, they might be changing after all. And not for the best.
Ads listed chronologically as well as unintentionally from funny and awesome to unfunny and lame.