Publication: Packaging Digest

4 Tips for Applying Local Inspiration to Scalable Brands with Big Dreams

October 13, 2015

In creating product packaging for upstart brands, one approach is to look at the ultimate goal—rising to become a top brand in the category nationally or even internationally—and to then copy the look of brands that have already reached this summit. The problem with this approach, though, is its inherent lack of authenticity. Copying others is what you do when you have low self-esteem, right?

This “knockoff play” sometimes works, of course, but it can certainly be problematic in today’s marketplace, where the need for authenticity is playing an ever-larger role and will continue to do so as Millennials and Generation Z’s take the reins. Simply put, today’s consumers are looking for authentic stories. This is precisely why so many of them are strolling through farmer’s markets every week, befriending neighborhood chefs and food truck operators, and just generally doing all they can to live by the mantra “think globally, buy locally.”

In fact, the rapid success of so many local operators is translating into growing demand for an alternate strategy to the knockoff play—namely, helping brands maintain their authenticity and potential for category disruption even as they scale up to become players on the national stage.

One example of […]

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3 Tactics for Provocative Packaging Promotions

July 29, 2015

7Up, U by Kotex and Barbasol use promotional packaging this summer to help make consumers feel like they are getting something special and unique—because they are.

People are willing to go to great lengths to attract our attention—just look at presidential candidate Donald Trump and his latest shock-worthy remarks. Brands, like people, often do the same to regain market share, increase sales and/or grow their consumer base. They come out with new product innovations. They redesign their packaging. They create new formulas—gluten-free/sugar-free/fat-free—you name it. And they employ one of the best ways for a brand to get consumers’ attention: They launch a promotional packaging campaign.

Promotional packaging often features unique graphics, compelling messaging and a call-to-action that creates intrigue, promotes trial and provokes purchase. In this age where it seems like everything is readily available (and via two-day shipping nonetheless), consumers need to feel like they are getting something unique to make a purchase.

Brands like Coca-Cola and M&M’s understand this, and have responded accordingly with inspiring campaigns. Coke has been personalizing its cans with people’s names to delight and encourage selfie-centric consumers to buy its products. M&M’s not only finds innovative ways to surprise its consumers with new products, […]

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The Power of Packaging at the Doorstep

April 17, 2015

By Nancy Brown

Brands need to explore new packaging strategies in the era of online delivery to keep consumers coming back for more.

Packaging offers a way to establish brand identity and create personalized consumer experiences. But in the era of online delivery, shouldn’t brands do a lot more to give online shoppers more compelling and on brand packaging experiences—right on the consumer’s doorstep? In today’s economic environment, after all, brands are competing as much on the experiences they offer as the products they sell.

We all saw the numbers for the 2014 holiday season: more online purchases than ever. By 2018, nearly one-half of CPG growth—a total take of $35 billion in sales—will derive from online transactions, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association. And more and more as e-commerce sales continue to take over the market, that classic moment of truth when shoppers first see your brand as it hangs on a hook or perches on a shelf will never happen. Instead, it will begin when they open the front door or a mailbox to find the product they have ordered in a box.

Think about that for a moment. Innumerable Ph.D. theses have been written about the art […]

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The era of feel-good packaging

August 14, 2014

Brands are telling consumers how they will feel if they buy their product—and are doing it front and center on their packages.

Maybe it’s me, but it seems like everywhere you look these days, there’s bad news: war, domestic shootings, political unrest, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (okay, so that was a false alarm, but still…). With headlines like these, is it any wonder that people are grasping for positivity wherever they can find it? Not surprisingly, Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” song is the anthem of 2014, the one that got Meryl Streep dancing in the aisles at the Oscars. Pharrell is proud to tell everyone that he’s happy, and you should be too, dammit.

Pop songs have no problem telling you how you should be feeling, and now brands are following suit by staging end benefits front and center on pack. A recent trip down the supermarket aisle proves how brands are leveraging this strategy. Several can be seen using a strong end benefit to make the consumer believe they need to buy these products to feel better about life. To feel refreshed, optimistic, energized and—you guessed it—happy. Instead of human behavior driving brands, as they once did, it now seems […]

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Dressing Up Celebrity Alcohol Packaging in Style

March 17, 2014

By Rick Barrack

Brangelina, George Clooney, Justin Timberlake and other stars who lend their names to liquor brands are designing the packaging to be consistent with the personalities we see on the red carpet.

A few months ago, megastars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie added another accolade to their long list of joint accomplishments. No, they didn’t become parents for the umpteenth time—they won “Best Rose in the World” in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year issue.

You heard me right; Brangelina is now a premiere winemaker, which is further proof that alcohol is the new perfume, with more celebrities opting to lend their personas to spirits than scents. Stars such as George Clooney, Justin Timberlake and Sofia Coppola also are lending their names (and possibly, expertise) to wine and liquor brands, making the local wine store shelf resemble an issue of US Weekly. So how do these stars—who have an army of publicists and Tweeters shaping their public personas—protect their images when it comes to the packaging and marketing of their liquor brands?

George Clooney is a lover of women, Italian villas and—as nightclub impresario Rande Gerber knows—tequila. It seems that while the two were just hanging […]

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Pet food packaging gets real

October 8, 2013

To differentiate in the pet food aisle, brands are taking cues from successful design trends of food packages for people. Once upon a time, if you were shopping for pet food, you’d immediately be overwhelmed by a case of “cute overload.” It seemed every bag (with the exception of the always clinical Science Diet brand) featured a photo of a ridiculously adorable pooch or pussycat, looking out at you with soft, adoring eyes and fur you wanted to reach out and stroke. Even the most cold-hearted of individuals would find themselves crooning “Awww!” when walking down the pet food aisle. The problem with those packages was that there was no differentiation-and more importantly, no real information-on the bags. But over the years, pet food marketers have come to recognize that people are trained to shop a certain way for their own food and they apply these same behaviors when shopping for their pets. That means that the same visual and verbal cues are turning up on Casey the Calico’s and Dexter the Doberman’s dinners. A deep dive into the current state of pet food packaging shows that there’s really not much difference between marketing pet food and human food today. […]

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U by Kotex packaging Distinguishes Itself with Engaging Graphics and Bright Colors

December 1, 2011

The packaging usually found in the feminine hygiene products aisle is not exactly earth-shattering. Characterized by dainty pastel color palettes and soft-sided poly packs, nearly every container’s design is timid, rather than tenacious.

Enter U by Kotex. The Kimberly-Clark feminine hygiene product line breaks through the clutter with firm, upright paperboard outer cartons emblazoned with eye-popping color, a sharp contrast to the fields of frilly flowers and soft-sided bags more commonly associated with the category. The innovative packaging design recently cleaned up at the 2011 New Jersey Packaging Executives Club Package of the Year Awards. Submitted by package design/production firm AGI, the packaging garnered a Market Innovator award, Gold recognition in the Personal Care category and top honors as Package of the Year.

“We are very happy that Kimberly-Clark chose AGI as the packaging manufacturer for some of its U by Kotex products. It’s always great to play an instrumental role in helping bring design innovation to the marketplace,” says Sharon Meeks, vp of sales at AGI.

In addition to attracting the attention of packaging pros, U by Kotex is engaging female customers by giving them something different.

“The entire category has historically been flooded with this sameness of […]

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