The Packaging Pitch: words matter when it comes to packaging

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The Packaging Pitch: words matter when it comes to packaging

By Fresh Produce Marketing founder Lisa Cork

Lisa Cork columnistSometimes I come across packaging that just sums up a situation perfectly; it might be an effective brand; itt might be the way a brand manifests on a pack; it might be a clever way of conveying complicated information.

Other times, I come across packaging that is just plain funny. I can remember finding a can of soda at a cheap market a few years back. The brand was SARS. Unfortunately, this was just after the SARS epidemic outbreak and my thought at the time was, "that makes marketing tricky!"

A few weeks ago, I found this pack at a hotel I was staying at. I must have passed by the pack multiple times before I actually read it. But when I did, I could not stop laughing. Given many of you have English as a second language, I only hope it translates to be as funny as it is. Let me attempt to explain.

What they meant by the brand being "clean" relates to the fact it is recycled pulp toilet tissue and clean means it is good for the environment.

Of course, Australian and NZ readers will recognise the common phrase 'down under'. It's a slang of sorts, used because Australia and New Zealand are often seen as 'down under' to the rest of the world.

So the humor of this brand doesn't come from its literal reading. The humor comes when you put it all together, particularly in the context of toilet tissue.

It's a good reminder that your word choice matters on your branding and packaging. Clean Down Under 1

Recently, I was doing some work with a product where the company had created a great point of sale (POS). Now I know POS is not banned in all markets of the world, but in Australasia, the retailers favor a clean produce department philosophy. So POS is passé.

Their POS piece was well designed, delivered a strong educational message related to enjoying the fruit at its optimal ripeness and the product photographed on the pack looked eye appealing. Contrast this with their packaging and on pack message.

Nowhere on their pack did they incorporate any of the messages from their POS piece. Yet in the absence of the POS piece being able to be seen by shoppers, the key messages were not being conveyed. Shoppers still needed to be informed on ways to ensure optimal ripeness in order to deliver a good taste experience that brought them back for more.

Instead of an education message on the pack, guess what was there? The brand name was in big bold letters and the pack re-stated the obvious by just telling shoppers what they could already see.

Given this will be my last column for 2013 (I am off to New York for December), remember to keep these key points in mind regarding your packaging as we look to roll into a new year.

1. Your brand name is important to you and it's important to your mother - 99% of the time your brand is not important to the shopper. If it is the biggest, boldest words on your pack, then it is time for a rethink.

2. Your packaging and on-pack communication is an in-store mini-billboard. Use that space wisely. Treat it as an investment. Do something with the space to entice, educate or inform. Make your packaging work hard for you – it costs you too much to waste.

3. Do more than re-state the obvious. A shopper knows a punnet of strawberries has strawberries inside. Instead of telling them what they already know, find out what's important to your customers about your product – then tell them that story instead. "Freshly picked" has more meaning than just "strawberries".

If you want to re-invent your packaging in the New Year, then make contact by email at or call 64 9 815 5944. I offer a range of services designed to make your packaging work harder to sell more of your product for more money. 

Happy holidays.

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