Packaging and the power it possesses

7 Apr

The Australian Government is currently on the war path against tobacco sales and as the final attempt to stop cigarette branding they are planning to bring in a law that makes all cigarette boxes plain and unbranded. It is set to restrict branding other than product brand name written in plain text on cigarette packs and tobacco products. But why? Does the distinctive colours and name of the brand really push people to smoke more?

The proposed new plain packaging for tobacco products in Australia

The government seems to think so and as a result they are planning to make packs olive green with pictures of the deadly consequences of smoking on the front. Are people smoking because they like the brand artwork on the box? These days cigarettes are hidden behind shop counters who are forced by law to not make them visible so will giving them plain packaging really matter in the long run or is this a political stunt to look pro active?

The tobacco companies are arguing that plain packaging will encourage counterfeiting, it violates trademark and intellectual property rights and they claim there is no evidence to support that plain packs will stop smoking. You can read their arguments here.

Does packaging play a big part in how you shop? If a product has visually attractive packaging does it give you a sense of credibility and safety?

Well designed packages can provide convenience and can work as a marketing tool. 53% of all purchases in a supermarket are made on impulse so in actual fact the packaging needs to be an advert in itself. It needs to attract attention, give a sense of confidence in the brand and product, describe the products features and perhaps a way to use it and over all it needs to give a good impression.

I have even seen some packages promoting facebook pages and ways to communicate with the company after purchase offering incentives such as free recipes and give aways. Everyone likes some added value.

The Campbell Soup Company has estimated that on average a shopper sees its distinctive can around 76 times a year which creates around $26 million worth of free advertising!

In some cases the cost of packaging is more than the product itself. Pretty multicoloured boxes with die cut holes to showcase the product inside which is then again wrapped in a plastic bag and so on. Most people these days are willing to pay more for a better looking pack which may provide more convenience such as a zip lock. Marketing as a whole is all about providing benefits that matter to customers.

Brand image is a huge part of the role packaging plays. Think of the number of times you walk past a particular brand each time you visit the supermarket. That is a lot of free advertising they have got through to you, even if it is subliminal you probably have absorbed something and stored it in your  consideration set for a later purchase. Colour choices is also very important for packaging. Black normally indicates a gourmet high class brand however some graphic design professionals feel that black is not a colour that should be used predominantly on food packaging as it does not seem to induce appetite. Red stimulates feelings of warmth and is often used to promote coffee, you’ll always see a red mug. Blue is seen as cool and serene.

If a package is too cluttered then it may put buyers off. Modern packaging is very clean and simple with lots of block colours as opposed to packaging a few decades ago.

Note to self: Keep away from nail polish. The bright attractive colours of their bottles make me want to buy them all.

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