Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Packaging review

When I worked at places where we sold things on shelves, like LeapFrog and Knowledge Adventure, we would have packaging reviews. Basically, everyone and their mother would cram into a conference room where we everyone would express their opinions about the box, clamshell, book cover, or what have you.

Here are some recent case studies, done independently of course, on new packaging I've encountered.

Case study #1: Wateroos

I just discovered these the other day at Monterey Market. I think they are the best thing since sliced bread and then some. I bought them because Lucas has been at home with a fever and I was trying to find something that he would drink that wasn't too acidic (he also has canker sores).

I thought it was apple juice, but on closer inspection saw that it's apple flavored water, which to him, passes as apple juice. So you get the same response as you would if you busted out some apple juice (which is rare in our house), but without the guilt of all that sugar.

Since Lucas revealed himself to be such a juice monger at birthday parties, I always started to wonder why companies didn't package water in more kid-appealing ways. Now I'll have to think of something else to make my millions.

Though the packaging achieves the goal of making a kid (or 36-year old marketing gal) think this is apple juice, I think the packaging could use a little work. I mean, what the heck is so appealing about this creepy turtle with oversized eyes (the "oo" in Wateroo), hovering over the barrel of apples? And don't they know they're competing with Scooby-Doo, Transformers and the X-Men?

Case study #2: See photo below. What do you think came in this package: The fancy folding box, the foot owner's manual, personalized letter and marketing collateral? (Photo doesn't even show the package it was mailed in.)
One pair of Thorlo Socks for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk. Yes, just one pair of socks.

(You may be wondering, "Is this another plug for donations to Sunny's 3-day walk to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation?" No, but I'll take the donations.

I received an email from the good folks at 3-Day that Thorlo was offering a free pair of socks to all Komen walkers. I signed up and about a week later got a rather large cardboard box from Thorlo.

I was astounded, and actually, quite horrified, that so much packaging and collateral was all for one pair of socks. Granted these are the best socks I think I've ever owned - so cushiony. But all this for one pair of socks? I know it's free for Komen, they're not paying money to Thorlo for this. But if I were Komen, I would say to Thorlo, "Thanks for giving our participants the free socks. But can you guys simplify the packaging, maybe just a pink ribbon around the socks and one piece of paper with the marketing messages? Maybe take the $1.00+ you spent (read: wasted) in packaging and just donate it to us."
Where was the CFO when this packaging got approved?

1 comment:

Whitney said...

We bought Wateroos as well for use on a road trip and for sick days when we want Julian to drink more water.

Sadly, the taste does not appeal to him.

This morning, wanting him to drink something, I poured him a huge glass of OJ. Guess what? He gulped it down like it was beer on St. Patrick's Day. Bring on the juice.