Packaging Notes – Squeeze Only Once!

In every aspect of marketing, a good plan is essential but implementation is what makes all the difference.

Case in point. The upside down condiment bottle has worked pretty well for ketchup and salad dressings. So when we saw that same packaging on Heinz mustard at Harris Teeter, we assumed it would be just as functional. Wrong.

Many months later, when the bottle wasn’t full any longer, a squeeze of the package  revealed the major implementation fail. The flex of the ketchup bottle was missing! Try as we might, we could not restore the package to its original shape.

Frustrated, we threw it out, but not before @ShopperAnnie got the photo that proves the devil is always in the details.

No squeezing!
No squeezing!

 

A Tramp Stamp on the Tomato!

I can’t wait to see if there will be a “tramp stamp” on my store-bought tomatoes one day soon. Change is coming to the produce industry.  Tattoos may soon replace those annoying but helpful little stickers you find on most fruits and veggies. 

There’s a secret trick to deciphering number codes on produce stickers – those leading with the number 9 are organic food, and those that lead with 4 are just plain food, grown however the farmer chooses.  Remember this: nine is fine and four is a bore.

I wonder if the tattoos will be tiny and hard to see like the stickers are now or big and artistic like a full sleeve? I wonder if shoppers will find the tattoos offensive or perceive them to be dangerous to eat?

This trend is beginning in Europe. Can you guess which U. S. retailer will lead the way with tattooed produce? Flip a coin on Whole Foods or Walmart. Sustainability is key to them both, and that’s what’s behind the tattoo movement.

I like the idea of tattoos on produce. I look forward to the day that I will no longer have to stick the labels from the veggies all over my hand when I’m prepping the organic goodies for the juicer.

 

The Full Sleeve

 

 

High on Monster High

It’s hard to stay up on all the trends I need to know in retail, shopper marketing, culture…engagement, advocacy…you name it…I’m supposed to know about it.  Honey Boo Boo? Really? We’re over your gross lack of manners. Gangnam Style? Whatever…

My new curiosity is Monster High. I’m looking for a couple of ten year olds to play with. I’ll invest in the dolls and  sets of accessories to go with.  Really, I will. I also want to play dolls with all the moms. This is fertile ground for woman culture.

Just look at the branding. Is this the next gen Hello Kitty or what?

Branding at its finest!!

Be Yourself. Be Unique. Be A Monster.

Just ask my husband. I can be all of the above on any given day. And then I can go play with my dolls. Acting out stories. Like a ten year old.

Monsters? Or Zombies? Connections to apps with big glitzy keys on the packages…..

 

Clawdeen – the best seller

What ARE the stories the dolls act out for ten year olds today?Is Monster High a next-gen storyboard? Could it be a comic book reality show? Is it individually crafted visual story telling, or script some marketer is pushing?

Is this toy story, next chapter? Let’s play.

What’s the story behind this?

 

Branding at its finest!!

The Grabbing Power of Visual Icons

During a recent visit to Target in search of new earbuds to replace a pair that got stepped on, I found myself standing at the electronics counter making a purchase. While I am in fact a shopper that notices many things, clutter around a retail counter rarely gets any attention. Mainly I think its annoying and in the way.

But, in the midst of paying, SOMETHING ICONIC caught my eye. It was on a typical rack of gift cards –  a sea of clutter that’s hard to read and impossible to shop, in my humble opinion.

But these babies jumped out at me big time. Why?

These icons spell “pleasure” to the brain!!

 

Because my brain is patterned to recognize the two images as associated with pleasure. So, while out of context in a store versus on a screen, they break through the clutter and get noticed.

Nice work, Apple.  I almost gifted myself on the spot. Almost.

Peeking into Retail Windows

What ever happened to retail windows that could cause a shopper to pause and ponder?

These windows did just that.

Thank you, Louis Vuitton, for your design point of view – worth taking a moment to appreciate. Amidst the crowd on King St. in Charleston, you managed to not only bemuse, but also to reflect the scene on the street itself.

 

Louis Vuitton retail window – Charleston, SC

 

Packaging is the silent salesman, whispering in the shopper’s ear.

The role of packaging is to be the silent salesman, according to Vickie VanHurley, Ph.D. and Package Design Team Supervisor for Meijer.  Being a regular Meijer shopper, I recently reached out to Vickie to engage her in a packaging methodology dialogue.  Frankly, I wanted to know why they made the private label potato chip bag dark green. What was the insight?

But Vickie works in general merchandise, and while my question on chip insights goes unanswered for now, we had a great discussion on the role of insights in packaging.

Meijer moves fast in private brand product development, and Vickie’s team rarely has the luxury time to complete in-store testing. The company relies on the prowess of the entire team and its ability to write an insightful branding statement as the creative direction for any private brand packaging in the general merchandise area.

Vickie’s job is to interpret an emotional connection to desire for the product and translate it to the shopper via packaging as if she were the sales associate telling you the story at the point of purchase.  She wants you to feel something visceral, but she doesn’t get as much space as the ad and display designers. But working as a team gives her the opportunity to “nail it” on packaging, sometimes using just a wrapper.

So I journeyed to the aisles of Meijer to see what examples I could find of Vickie’s craft in action. And find them I did.  Although the temp outside was only 38 chilly degrees, I felt The Summer of Color connection in an warm and sunny manner. The silent salesman spoke to my desire to update my kitchen and linen closets with fresh, fun items to add pops of excitement to my summer entertaining. The entire concept was visually stimulating, from display to packaging to the products themselves. Even the beach towels were inspiring. Take a look at how integrated all of the elements are!

Well-balanced and so pretty!

 

Pretty enough to be a serving board.

 

The quality is really nice!

 

The package tag is as nice as a notecard inviting you to the beach house!

 

Ahh, yes, time to plan the vacation trip! I want this experience for my family.

 

Vickie’s team is doing a great job with the Katie Brown line of home accessories as well. The display and packaging instantly conveys a sort of stylized, rustic yet approachable vibe. “Simply at Meijer” and what look to be an updated version: “Keeping it simple at Meijer” is a nice packaging tagline that assures the shopper she’s going to get it right without too much fuss and distress. I also loved the cutout towel wrapper, allowing just one more hint of saturated color to peep through the cutout. That silent salesman is telling me that the up-market design cues are an important part of feeling good about buying home furnishings at Meijer.

This all but says “come on over to my home”

 

Wrap up and enjoy movie night in style!

 

Doing dishes is now a style statement. Sign me up!

 

I can’t wait to see more of what this team is up to. Vickie and her crew obviously get it when it comes to arming the silent salesman with what to say to shoppers without uttering one spoken word. They’ll show us more at the Shopper Insights conference in July. I hope they bring some sample products of the new DRINK line for the cocktail party!