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Looks matter. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about human looks. For the sake of romance it’s probably best to keep believing that personality trumps looks. It does, however, go for product packaging. The truth is that I – the worst chef in the world – could make a completely uneatable dish, and it would still sell – with the right packaging of course. HA! That’s quite awesome! But how does it work?

Ok, so what you may or may not know is that the way we taste is not actually only defined by our tasting sense. Weird, right? Smell, sound, sight and touch also play a huge part in the way we experience taste. Don’t believe me? In 2011 Coca-Cola changed their typical red Coca-Cola cans to white ones with polar bears on them for charity. Now, of course, the drink inside the can stay the exact same, yet people actually started complaining that Coca-Cola had changed their secret recipe! So their taste experience of Coca-Cola actually changed because the cans did. Crazy!

There are a few basic elements underlying product packaging psychology (tongue twister – I know):

 

Color

I’ve talked about colors in my supermarketing article as well: they are super important. The associations we have with different colors differ per gender, age and culture. In general though, we  can outline it as follows:

  • Blue and white: linked with freshness (we see these on toothpaste packages and cleaning supplies etc.)
  • Red and yellow: evoke joy, ease and pleasure, perfect for the package of a snack. Red is also associated with a sweet taste; we tend to experience food or drinks sweeter when the package is red
  • Green: signals health, we see this on organic and healthy food packages
  • Black: is often associated with death and evil, probably not your best choice for – let’s say – a breakfast package. It is, however, also associated with power. Thus, in product classes like technology, it is often used.
  • Brightness: the brighter the color, the more positive the product is viewed

 

Shape

Shapes of a product packing are also of influence on how we perceive the product inside.

  • Shapey designs feel manly and powerful (Hasseroeder beer bottles have been made angular, just to improve manly appeal).
  • Round shapes are more feminine, harmonious and soft.

And for the real crazy psychology: when we place something in a square package, the taste of it is perceive as intensified in relation to that same product in a round package. Say whaaaat!?

 

Images

Images on a package can also influence perception of the product. Do you want your product to be perceived as luxurious? Just add some vertical stripes behind the product. The product inside will be eaten more of at one time if the package shows the product in large quantities.

Another fun fact about product package images: a lot of cornflakes packages have a picture of corn on them. Most cornflakes don’t even have corn in them though, but we associate it with being healthy.

Also, have you ever thought about the complete randomness of a puppy on a package of toilet paper!? I’m talking about Page here. They use the puppy to enhance the idea that their toilet paper is soft.

 

It’s everywhere

So, next time you consume (anything – really!), pause for a second and think about how your current experience is affected by the product’s look, rather than functional benefit to you. Have you seen any cool examples of product packages that caught your eye? Let me know in a comment!

Written by Kim van der Vliet


Sources: Amsterbrand, Verpakkingsprofs

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It looks like science fiction. However, Amazon is very serious about their new project: Amazon Prime Air. In their new promo-video Jeremy Clarkson, yes the one from TopGear, reveals the new delivery system of the future; designed to deliver your package to your home in under 30 minutes. With more than 5 million views in less than 7 days, Amazon is on to something.

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The Amazon Prime Air will work through unmanned drones that can fly distances of 10 miles or more (for the Dutch people, and people from most other countries in the world that do not use those silly imperial units,  that is 16km or more). The drones can carry packages up to 55 pounds (a little bit less than 25 kg). They can land in your backyard and drop the package off in the landing zone, which is provided by the customer in the form of a small square plate.

Of course it is a very handy system when your dog Steward just ate your daughter Milly’s football shoes, like Jeremy Clarkson shows in the video. However, delivery drones offer much more solutions. Amazon states that soon it will be just as normal to see drone traffic in the sky, as it is to see mail trucks on the road.

This groundbreaking new delivery system combined with the great English wit of Jeremy Clarkson, make this video a great marketing strategy of Amazon. They got the conversation started. I am very curious not if, but when this new technology will become reality, and how it will be adopted by the public.

Let’s only hope that when the time is there, your package will not get lost in a thunderstorm….

 

Marjolein Tromp