Alan Gilbody

Don’t leave them guessing

Great standount and stripped back messaging always works, right?

Take a look at this example from OHMG.

The naming strategy is very clever for a magnesium based drink – once you know that’s what it is…

And that’s the problem. Whilst it may achieve standout, it’s not immediately evident what the product is, what flavour it is or what the benefit is to the consumer.

Now some of you out there may say, but it encourages me to pick it up and have a look at it. But would be you actually want to pick everything up and examine it in the middle of a busy shop?

Being single minded and stripping back clutter is always great for any FMCG brand, but never leave consumers guessing too much.

Otherwise they will quickly find something else that talks to and meets their immediate needs.

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Always be known for something

Now, at first glance this might this looks like one of those thingies that you pop in your toilet cistern in order to get rid of limescale and make the water blue.

It’s actually a gizmo for filtering tap water.

For these types of consumables it’s imperative to communicate the end use and benefit to the consumer. However, the ‘thirst quenching refreshment’ story and how many bottles one filter creates information is pretty much nowhere to be seen.

Sure, consumers no what Britta does as a brand, but lifestyle and end benefit are hugely important to the end of consumer.

In a world where sustainability rules, creating a credible alternative to bottled water is there for any brand to make their own!

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Build equity, not confusion

What do you see first? Is it the Apple, the background texture or the brand logo?

Now, bear in mind this photo is taken fairly close up on the shelf, but take a couple of steps back and the brand name disappears entirely.

The brand name should work effectively from a metre and a half away as your approach shelf and also when you’re right up next to it.

This is even more important if you don’t have an instantly recognisable brand colour or other piece of sign posting to draw the eye.

Build equity, not confusion.

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Is it just me?

Is it just me?

It would appear that the health and safety people have taken over control of SRP creation at the moment.

I’m sure I remember the oxo SRP being a much shallow tray to allow the O and X to rule the shelf.

This slightly overcautious iteration seems to spoil this champion of on shelf presence.

Can anyone else remember a shallower tray, or is this one of those “Mandala effect” things happening?

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Always ensure the story it creates matches what the product offers.

Pet food, as I’ve discussed before is a very confusing area.

Brands have a very small canvas to communicate a lot of information, especially that your four-legged friend is going to love the taste and that it’s packed with stuff that is going do them good!

Because of this challenge, you are relying on the imagery and colour palette to do much of the communication and delivery of this information to the purchaser!

I came across this own brand offering from Sainsbury’s on my first thought was, ‘wow, that’s so bleak!’.

Deconstructing the pack: There is a black tombstone holding all the information in very austere uppercase letterform, a dog that looks like it’s been photographed on a wet Wednesday and a weather worn, barren landscape.

Goodness promises bright and healthy, not an afternoon on a bleak English Moreland!

When space on pack is a premium, your illustration provides a strong visual shortcut to subconsciously cue the product qualities.

Always ensure the story it creates matches what the product offers.

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Oh go on then….

Packaging aimed at specific occasions has a lot of heavy lifting to do.

One of the key needs it has to meet, is to provide a strong visual shortcut to the emotion of that event. Take birthdays and baking specifically.

Who doesn’t like a good birthday cake? How many of us end up uttering ‘Oh go on then, I shouldn’t, but just one more slice!’

The excitement of that yearly ritual of celebration and over indulgence always seems to be missed from these products.

Packaging aimed at specific occasions should always have emotion at the heart of its brand storytelling.

Granted, these are own brand offerings and probably deprioritised but I think they’re missing a trick.

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Pet food is a curious area.

Pet food is a curious area.

Clearly, as humans we are not intended to be the end consumer so making it look appetising can be quite a strange thing to get your head around.

That said your pet is like one of the family, so you want them to enjoy what they are eating. So what is important, is to make it look, feel and appear as though it is food. Good food. Nom nom type of food!

Most of the brands in the space do this well, but there are the odd ones, such as the brand below, that seem to not follow any of the necessary rules.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes challenging rules can be a great way to stand, out but it’s important you still play some sector rules in order to encourage purchase.

Forthglade appears more like a product from the gardening sector. The stripped back industrial feel seems more at home with products that promise, healthy lawn or a clean patio rather than a healthy pet!

Break the rules by all means, but remember to follow category cues as well, otherwise you risk not convincing the consumer to make a switch from their usual brand.

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Size isn’t everything…

Size isn’t everything.

Just because something is large on pack doesn’t mean that it will be the first thing that I seen. Here is a great example of that on Supermalt.

The brand-name takes up the largest part of the canvas and is made even bigger by being on an angle. This increase in real estate isn’t enough to make it punch out because it utilises some of the background colours in the body of the logo type.

So whilst the volume of the brand logo increases, the impact at fixture doesn’t.

Creating impact is all about utilising a foreground, a mid-ground and a background. The foreground, which usually contains the brand logo, needs to have enough contrast to lift it out from whatever is going on in the rest of the pack architecture.

If the logo is going to take up so much room that there is little left for other communication, then it may be better to sacrifice some of the size, make it smaller and employ tricks in both colour and contrast to make sure it sings out on shelf.

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An egg, is an egg, is an egg. Isn’t it?

An egg, is an egg, is an egg. Isn’t it?

Trying to differentiate one egg offering from another is a notoriously difficult task. With the price of most basic eggs, shooting up in recent months, it will be fair for any consumer to think that all eggs have suddenly gone, proper premium!

It used to be that they were either free range, or not. A fairly simple choice, but this little upstart really caught my eye. It’s pitched as the egg with ‘gorgeous yolks for foodie folks’.

The structure is quite a move away from typical eggbox cartons and the pack Graphics feature both foils AND spot varnishes. Opulent is an understatement!

Quite a way to stand out.

If your competition follows a traditional everyday path, then breaking with the norm by creating a super premium challenger to an everyday offering by focusing on a specific product quality, is a fantastic way to stand out.

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A robust pack architecture should be just that.

Coke are relaunching the original lemon flavour after being discontinued back in 2006.

Interestingly, here they have opted for a background vignette from red to yellow which moves away from the usual solid background flavour signalling across the portfolio. This new design also features an illustration of a fizzing lemon.

The first thing to note here is that they’re moving away from an architecture that has already been established. In my opinion, this undermines this pack architecture and creates more of a ‘differentiated’ offering rather than a flavour extension.

The addition of the fizzing lemon also conjures up certain ‘plink plink fizz’ connotations from the pharmaceutical sector.

I’m not sure of the logic behind any of the above. If you have a robust architecture, it’s there for extensions to fit into rather than to be challenged on a whim when a new or previous flavour is re-introduced into the portfolio.

The ‘white out’ and ‘black on’ colour options for the logo type are the only things kept, and clearly this causes an issue for the full sugar white logo on a yellow background.

Maybe, this robust architecture isn’t quite as robust as they thought.

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