Eight O’ Clock Fails With Redesign, Again

MONTVALE, N.J. – Eight O’ Clock, the nation’s greatest coffee brand, has modified its logo with a second redesign that appeared in coupon mailers this week. The design is an update of a failed 2010 design, an improvement but not that much. The packaging debuted in August. In a press release, the company said:

“We have been expertly crafting high-quality coffee for our consumers for more than 150 years,” said Alisa Jacoby, Director Marketing, Eight O’Clock Coffee. “The Eight O’Clock Coffee brand ‘redress’ is a celebration of our beginnings and a look into the future as we continue to stay relevant in the coffee aisle. All of these new brand choices – both inside and out of the bag – were inspired by our consumers who continue to be the most important influence behind our ever-evolving brand.”

The coffee dates from 1859, when the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company was established. For over 100 years, it was only sold at A&P. But when that chain declined, the result of changing and diminishing their classic supermarket brand, the coffee survived. In 2006, it was purchased by the Tata empire of India, and one had hopes that it would continue the classic look. After all, Indian companies, with their British roots, traditionally have a good respect for legacy brands.

However in the fall of 2010, the Tata completely redesigned the packaging, replacing the red package with a smaller red area and pictures of beans. Our writer Dooney Tickner detailed the awful changes in a prescient Sept. 4, 2010 BrandlandUSA post. Wrote Tickner:

“Shame on whoever thinks so little of this classic brand to remake it as a lookalike to trendy private labels.”

The changes did not last, and the company had to redesign after only three years.

This 2013 version is an improvement on the 2010 version; it at least is red, and puts “THE ORIGINAL” on the front. But it is still a far cry from the classic, and the original was a classic.


  • Dooney Tickner

    BrandlandUSA Contributing Writer and business historian Dooney Tickner is the owner of Dooney's Book Company in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.


  1. I defy Ms. Jacoby to come to my home town and explain how the look of a bag reflects the the taste of a product enjoyed for a lifetime. I am unable to strike a woman but would happily let a daughter or granddaughter teach her a lesson in advertising that will possibly last as long as the wonderful coffee in the red and black bag.

  2. This might be an okay design on its own; but considering the company’s history it feels more like salt in a wound.

    As both a designer and loyal drinker of Eight O’Clock’s Colombian (now “Colombian Peaks” –ugh) this design is a horror on the shelves.

    Color-wise, it now looks much like many other brands, but even worse is trying to determine the varieties and grind within the brand.

    The photo of the beans is now a standardized black and white picture, a dull contrast to the bright field of red. Very unappetizing.

    The bean variety/ flavor/ roast (i.e. Original, Colombian, Hazelnut, French Roast) is in a small flag near the bottom, completely covered by most larger supermarket’s spring-loaded displays that keep product at the front of the shelf. The color of the flag is the only discernible variant; and its tiny.

    Then… the whole bean vs ground designation is a microscopic pictogram and tiny type which is very difficult to read; especially on the reflective metallic package material. One could easily pick up the wrong version.
    Considering that many of their customers are older folks with declining vision, this is hardly a welcome change.

    The upper field of the package is completely wasted, in that the consumer’s eye starts from there, and quickly loses interest if they can’t get the information needed.

    Lastly, and this is me being grumpy, is the unneeded frou-frou of the new names. Colombian Peaks?! All I need to know is that its the same old Colombian I’ve always used. Every name seems to be similarly tarted-up to further obscure what you’re buying.

    Again, on its own, this is a decent-looking design. But it is a catastrophic failure in the sea of other brands and in comparing their own varieties against one another.
    So many errors is puzzling.

  3. Of course the original packaging (with maybe a little nod stating something like: “over 150 years of Quality” in tiny print) would be perfect. Unfortunately who can justify being paid to redesign something unless they actually redesign it? Also, maybe they need to look at who is doing their marketing studies; who needs to do a redesign so quickly unless the studies were of simular low quality as the design.

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