I am amazed how many people in the design community have spent so much time analyzing the Tropicana packaging redesign (myself included). The execution was less than good at best. Still, large companies launch sub par redesigns all the time, so why such an uproar?
Over at Subtraction.com, they hit the issue right on the head: the function of color in packaging is a key element of differentiation among similar product.
This lesson learned did bring up much conversation about an agency's role and the ethics of design. Namely, did Tropicana need a redesign?
Weather any brand needs a redesign can always be disputed. The question is does a perception need to change? Design is a tool to change perception.
Some have questioned the design agency involved, and asked if the unnecessary (in their eyes) redesign raises the topic of design ethics. Only in retrospect do we question the ethics of a botched attempt.
In my opinion, a redesign was clearly needed. I am sure that Tropicana saw their customers moving organic, and it is a basic business need to recapture your customer through design. If it was a fantastic redesign, we'd be congratulating the team on a job well done and ethics would not be in question.
Rather than revert to the old packaging, it would have been nice to see the client, Tropicana, believe in the power of good design. Hand the project to another agency, one who has proven they understand how to design packaging. Change can be good and drive business results when well-executed.
P.S. Here's a great redesign round up from PSFK