Packaging is a key element of brand identity. But only the private labels are truly aware of it, as packaging, for them, is the ONLY means of communication: when the consumer reaches out to pick a product off the shelf, it is packaging that will tilt the scales. The example of Tropicana proves that a brand name is not enough, and that unsuccessful packaging can cause the sales of a product to drop, while successful packaging can see them grow by 15% or even 40% (figures noticed chez a client)!
However, too often brands evince a certain frilosity when redesigning a product: "too modern", "too sophisticated", "our consumers will not like it". They dismiss the Picard example as one meant for an "elitist" clientele, and want the result to be "not too much at odds with the existing one".
Two recent examples from the U.S. (see the blog "Read at Joe's") prove to us that we can redesign a very traditional brand, and at the same time anchor it in the modernity that the consumer himself is looking for. I will illustrate the most typical example here.
Frito-Lay is up against the bad nutritional image that snacks suffer from (high fat and far from healthy): the efforts that were made over several years (elimination of trans fats / new cooking techniques) have not been sufficient to change this image (80% of consumers still believe that snacks contain trans fatty-acids). How can consumers be convinced that Frito-Lay snacks are healthy and tasty? By reworking the packaging.
The old pack emphasizes a solar sign and the product with saturated colours:
- The dominating yellow of the pack inevitably reminds one of oil, and reinforces the idea of a greasy product;
- The patches of dense colours evoke strong flavours;
- The pack is overloaded, with colours, fonts, and reading-levels.
The brief given to the agency is simple:
We translated key consumer insights into emotionally impactful designs that reconsidered everything from mouth-watering photography, packaging size, portion control, tone of voice and visual personality to create a fresh and inspiring look and feel. With a focus on both product and differentiation in the grocery aisle, the new packaging encourages female consumers to stop and re-consider the chip aisle as a place "for me."
The result is superb:
- It retains the overall structure, including its distinctive solar sign, which is reinterpreted so as to strip it of "fatty" connotations.
- The patches of colour are retained but modernized: taste is still present.
- The focus is on the products, spilling over the white background, making the ensemble more prominent.
- The fonts have been "cleaned up".
Seen as a whole, Lay's snacks have become "healthy", appetizing and ... modern.
This change in packaging was made in tandem with an advertising campaign aimed at women (largely inspired by "Sex & the City" - see it on www.awomansworld.com) and resulted in a great deal of banter with regard to the old packs: a smart way to prepare consumers for the new identity. Decidedly, American brands know how to take risks!