Archive for the ‘Mktg – Packaging’ Category

Reinventing the world’s most efficient distribution system …

February 13, 2013

In the old days, I didn’t know that the Girl Scouts mission was building “courage, confidence, and character”.

I thought that they were just a highly efficient cookie distribution outfit … good marketing, highly effective sales force, and low cost delivery system.

Well, the Girl Scouts aren’t resting on the laurels.

 

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Girl Scouts of the USA has revamped its business approach, taking innovative measures to broaden customer access and overall appeal.

These girls will stop at nothing to make their sale.

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Innovation: Gimme a bag of soup …

January 15, 2013

Excerpted from “Kicking The Can: Campbell’s CEO Bets On Soup-In-A-Bag For 20-Somethings”

Denise Morrison, Campbell’s new CEO, is determined to shake things up.

She was hired to stabilize the soup and simple meals businesses, expand internationally, grow faster in healthy beverages and baked snacks.

Dubbed “the savior of soup”, she’s driven Campbell’s innovators to launch more than 50 new products in her 1st year.

For example, Campbell’s launched Go Soups, a six-flavor line in plastic pouches meant to convey freshness while capturing millennials’ adventurous tastes.

campbells soup in a bag

Ken’s Take:

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A pouch of soup … hmmm, hmmm good!

March 30, 2012

Punch line: Campbell Soup Co. tests another packaging innovation – this time in a pouch geared at younger consumers – to support its turnaround.

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Excerpted from adage.com, “Campbell Counts on Soups in a Pouch to Spur Turnaround

Campbell Soup Co. — which has put soup in see-through tubs and sipping cups — is now shoving it in a pouch as the marketer embraces innovations and new packaging in search of a turnaround.

The new microwavable pouches will be sold under the name, Campbell’s Go! Soup, and will launch in up to six flavors ranging from Coconut Curry with Chicken and Shitake Mushrooms to Moroccan Style Chicken with Chickpeas. The flavors, which are a mouthful even to say, are aimed at younger consumers.

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… Campbell reported domestic soup sales down 2% last quarter. The new strategy,first announced in July, seeks to reverse Campbell’s overemphasis on sodium reduction and its failure to reach out to young shoppers, who increasingly skip the soup aisle for other simple meals, such as frozen foods.

… CEO Denise Morrison framed the new approach as one that “requires moving from a high dependence on line extensions to more disruptive innovation, new and differentiated products, packaging and category segments that create new pathways for growth.” At the same time, Campbell is sticking by its plan to pour an additional $100 million this year into brand-building, research and development, and product launches.

Pouches and boxes aside, the can will remain at the company’s core. “When we talk about our U.S. soup strategy, we talk about first celebrate the can, then expand soup beyond the can, and then expand them to the greater simple-meals arena,” Ms. Morrison said.

Edit by KJM

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Your Diet Coke bottle is … well, quite chic!

March 6, 2012

TakeAway: Diet Coke partners with Diane von Fürstenberg to design new packaging for its Diet Coke bottle. Proceeds from the sales will go towards the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. Diet Coke + Fashion + Health? Hmm…

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Excerpted from psfk.com “Diane von Fürstenberg Redesigns Diet Coke

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Proceeds from the sales of Diane von Fürstenberg’s Diet Coke collection will go towards the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

Although there’s nothing new about celebrity bottles these days, we think the fashion designer has a fresh approach on an aging marketing gimmick – plus the charity angle is interesting (if a little ironic considering the discussion about the healthiness of diet soda).

Edit by KJM

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Ditch your whiskey … chug a beer (faster)

November 14, 2011

TakeAway: MillerCoors is trying to boost sales and prevent millennial’s from switching to spirits with new package features and labels.

Ken’s Take: Best new feature is  “taste flow” can …  for faster chugging.

Imagine if Colt 45 were to put its 40-ouncer in a taste flow can … then, you’d have some serious innovation.

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Excerpt From Adage: “MillerCoors Seeks Rebound After ‘Toughest Quarter as a Company’”

MillerCoors is banking on new packaging and advertising to help beat back what the brewer characterized as the “toughest headwinds we’ve seen as a company.”

Changes include new “taste flow” cans for Miller Lite that  feature a second opening on the can top designed to increase airflow and reduce “glug.” The optional new hole can be opened with a key or other object.

The growth of spirits brands is a new threat to beer, especially among younger drinkers.

“All of our various agencies have been looking at the mindset of millennial drinkers and what’s driving their switching [to spirits],”

Besides taste-flow cans, M-C is rebranding the low-calorie MGD 64 brand as “Miller 64” with new black-and-red color scheme, replacing the white-labeled cans and bottles now on shelves.

The brewer is also giving a different look to Miller Genuine Draft with new, all-black labels.

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Grab your wallet … here comes Starbuck’s in a K-cup.

September 2, 2011

Punch line: First VIA. Now the K cup. Starbucks deepens its entry into the near $2 billion single-cup coffee market through a partnership with Green Mountain Coffee.

Excerpted from WSJ, “Starbucks coffee to be offered in Keurig K-Cup Packs in November”

Last year, Starbucks entered the single cup coffee market with the launch of VIA Ready Brew.

In November 2011, Starbucks coffee will be sold in Green Mountain Coffee’s Keurig K-Cup single-serve packs in grocery stores and specialty retailers in the U.S. …

The agreement provides for the manufacturing, marketing and selling of Starbucks and Tazo-branded K-Cup portion packs throughout the U.S. and Canada …

Also, Starbucks ended speculation that it will debut its own single-cup brewer, though it hasn’t ruled out such plans in the future.

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Just me, or is that package smaller than it used to be.

April 1, 2011

TakeAway: As businesses anticipate rising raw materials costs, consumers are beginning to encounter shrinking food packages. 

With unemployment still high, companies have tried to camouflage price increases by selling their products in smaller packages. 

Most companies reduce products quietly, hoping consumers are not reading labels too closely.  However, there could be some backlash as consumers wise up.

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Excerpted from the NYTimes, “Food Inflation Kept Hidden in Tinier Bags By Stephanie Clifford and Catherine Rampell, March 28, 2011

In every economic downturn in the last few decades, companies have reduced the size of some products, disguising price increases and avoiding comparisons on same-size packages, before and after an increase. Each time, the marketing campaigns are coy; this time, the smaller versions are “greener” (packages good for the environment) or more “portable” (little carry bags for the takeout lifestyle) or “healthier” (fewer calories).  Trying to keep customers from feeling cheated, some companies are introducing new containers that, they say, have terrific advantages — and just happen to contain less product.

“Consumers are generally more sensitive to changes in prices than to changes in quantity,” John Gourville, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School, said. “And companies try to do it in such a way that you don’t notice, maybe keeping the height and width the same, but changing the depth so the silhouette of the package on the shelf looks the same. Or sometimes they add more air to the chips bag or a scoop in the bottom of the peanut butter jar so it looks the same size.”

Kraft is introducing “Fresh Stacks” packages for its Nabisco Premium saltines and Honey Maid graham crackers. Each has about 15 percent fewer crackers than the standard boxes, but the price has not changed. Kraft says that because the Fresh Stacks include more sleeves of crackers, they are more portable and “the packaging format offers the benefit of added freshness,” said a Kraft spokesman.  Similarly, P&G is expanding its “Future Friendly” products, which it promotes as using at least 15 percent less energy, water or packaging than the standard ones.  “They are more environmentally friendly, that’s true — but they’re also smaller,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner for retail systems research at Focus.com, an online specialist network. “They announce it as great new packaging, and in fact what it is is smaller packaging, smaller amounts of the product,” she said.

Or marketers design a new shape and size altogether, complicating any effort to comparison shop. The unwrapped Reese’s Minis, which were introduced in February, are smaller than the foil-wrapped Miniatures. They are also more expensive — $0.57 an ounce at FreshDirect, versus $0.37 an ounce for the individually wrapped.

In the culture of thinness, smaller may be a selling point. It lets retailers honestly claim, for example, that a snack package contains fewer calories — without having to change the ingredients a smidge.  “For indulgences like ice cream, chocolate and potato chips, consumers may say ‘I don’t mind getting a little bit less because I shouldn’t be consuming so much anyway,’ ” said Professor Gourville. “That’s a harder argument to make with something like diapers or orange juice.”  But even while companies blame the recession for smaller packages, they rarely increase sizes in good times, he said.  Once the economy rebounds, he said, a new “jumbo” size product typically emerges, at an even higher cost per ounce. Then the gradual shrinking process of all package sizes begins anew, he said.

Edit by AMW

New “super cold” Coors cans

March 11, 2011

TakeAway:  Package design is a critical part of a brand’s success.

At the point of sale a catchy package can make the difference between making the sale or not.

MillerCoors continues to evolve its gimmicky “cold cans” to try to boost sales in the ultra-competitive beer market.

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Excerpted from brandchannel, “MillerCoors Looks to Boost Marketing in Face of Beer Sales Slump,” by Jennnifer Sokolowsky, February 21, 2011

MillerCoors is hoping that cold cans will warm up beer sales this year.

The veteran brewmeister plans to increase spending on marketing and introduce new packaging for Coors Light.

The new Coors Light packaging will include an indicator to show when the beer has reached a “super cold” temperature …

Introducing new packaging is a strategy that has worked in the past to boost sales for Coors Light, which is expected to overtake Budweiser as the No. 2 selling beer the U.S. this year, behind Bud Light.

However, MillerCoors and other beer makers are also going to need an improved economy and more jobs for 21- to 32-year-old men to get them drinking more mass-market beer. …

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Diet Pepsi wants you to “get the skinny” … (and, psst, “get skinny”)

March 3, 2011

TakeAway: Diet Pepsi’s new skinny can is being met with controversy because of the perception that skinny is better and that this will influence the image issues young people face nowadays regarding their body types.

Pepsi on the other hand thinks it’s a new skinny can will provide as a marketing tool for people to “get the skinny” on what is trendy and in.  Who will win the battle?  

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Excerpted from AdAge, “Skinny Pepsi Can Launch is Heavy with Controversy”  by Natalie Zmuda, February 21, 2011

It’s hard to imagine that a brand the size of Diet Pepsi spent only $500,000 on measured media in the past three years combined, but that’s exactly what happened.

With the focus on programs such as Refresh Project and brands such as Pepsi Max, Diet Pepsi was pushed to the sidelines. …

“We are going to actually start talking to our consumer again. … We have our loyal followers that are a specific psychographic, and we want to make sure we talk to them on a one-to-one level.”

To that end, the brand is introducing a new package, the Skinny Can, and building a major marketing program around it, slated to run throughout 2011. The can will become part of Diet Pepsi’s permanent lineup. (Pepsi’s Skinny Can is a full 12 oz. serving. )

… Ads promote the can but also convey the idea of “getting the skinny” or the inside scoop on the latest in culture, fashion, style and design. …

A slew of partnerships and retail promotions are also a part of the effort. A promotion that gives consumers $5 off a purchase at Target when they buy a four-pack of Skinny Cans and a People magazine is launching late this month. …

To help conceive the effort, it formed a “Pop Culture Council,” …that was presented with various ideas and advertising concepts and told to “pull them apart and rebuild them.”

“They were saying you need to stop thinking as a staple product and think as we think in the fashion and design industries,” …

The effort is not without controversy. The National Eating Disorders Association put out a press release saying it “takes offense” to the idea. “Pepsi should be ashamed for declaring that skinny is to be celebrated,” …

“It’s the new shape of a product. We’re not talking about the form or shape of a woman,” she said. “And it’s also the marketing platform, getting the skinny, the inside scoop, on fashion, style and design.”

Eric Gustavsen, founding partner at creative firm Graj & Gustavsen who has no connection to the project, said … “This particular idea is simple enough and understandable enough that it may very well have mass appeal. It’s cool and different. That doesn’t mean it’s going to redefine what a soda can shape is, but there’s nothing wrong with breaking away and experimenting.”

Edit by HH

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Looking for whole grains? Well, follow the signs.

February 14, 2011

TakeAway: To help consumers sort through myriad of cereal options, General Mills is using social media as part of a new campaign to promote its cereals’ whole grain content.

The company expects this presence to  give consumers a shortcut or identifier to direct them to whole grain cereals.

The company will include special banners at the ends of aisles, more displays, including on pallets and in Spanish, colorful balloons and information at the checkout, as well as pointing out the check marks for whole grain content from the Whole Grains Council, an industry group that encourages eating whole grains.

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Excerpted from NYTimes, “And Down This Aisle, Many Whole Grain Options” By Elizabeth Olson, February 2, 2011

General Mills began adding whole grains to its cereal in 2005, after federal dietary guidelines recommended daily food intake include whole grains. Its products, which include Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fiber One and Total, each contain at least eight grams of whole grains per serving.

General Mills competes with Kellogg in the $6.5 billion cereal industry. It has slightly less than the one-third of Kellogg’s market share.

General Mills is moving to close the gap by spending 20 percent more on its whole grains advertising in 2011. The company spent nearly $245 million on all cereal marketing in the first nine months of last year.

The company advertises the whole grain content of its Big G cereal lineup, including Cheerios and Wheaties, separately from its advertising for individual cereal varieties.

For years, cereal makers have been battling with bread and pasta makers over which product has the higher whole grain content.

To help the baffled consumer, the General Mills campaign was reaching out to bloggers, including the MyBlogSpark network of people who review new products and other “influencers” — people who set a buying example for others. Consumers can sign up with the company’s Web site, generalmills.com, to receive and review products and host get-togethers to try new items with friends.

The whole-grains campaign is planning to give away one million servings of its whole grain cereals to needy families to spur consumption, although the company has not yet announced specifics of the giveaway. The campaign also created a series of pro-whole grain videos with a company nutritionist and Dr. Travis Stork, a host of “The Doctors” daytime talk show.

Edit by AMW

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The marketing message that ALL of your customers see …

February 3, 2011

TakeAway: Packing is not just what is on the outside of your product but rather a vehicle to convey a message.  What is that message you are trying to convey and what are you trying to do with that message?  

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Excerpted from AdAge, “What is your product saying to consumers? Rethinking the role of packaging in communications.” by James Black, January 18, 2011

Two fundamental truths about packaging are routinely overlooked by marketers. First, packaging is the only marketing vehicle that 100% of the consumers who buy your product see. Not necessarily the brand’s advertising or the exciting social media that your brand is doing. But all of the consumers who buy your brand do interact with your humble package.

… the package is really the only vehicle that you have 100% control over in-store. … and once it has a consumer’s attention, it starts conveying your message. … it is vital to get the communications right on the package. The first step is to decide what message you want packaging to convey

A package can attract new users rather than just retain current users … can also be updated to communicate a new positioning for the brand… can close a sale with the consumer in store.

Attracting new consumers vs. retaining current ones
…who the consumer is that we are trying to engage. Is it current consumers? New users? Are we trying to transition the brand from one user group to another?

…recent launch of the “U” feminine care products by Kotex … black packages (vs. pastels of other products) draw attention from shoppers at shelf… but windows on the package reveal pastel packets inside, a cue to category norms. … brand effectively communicates by being both differentiated and relevant at the same time.

In contrast, recall Tropicana redesign hastily withdrawn from market earlier last year. …so disruptive that it was not easily recognizable to current users, … the brand lost significant volume overnight. Ultimately, brands must strike a careful balance in keeping the brand recognizable to current users while also making it disruptive to new users.

Communicating a new positioning for the brand
In 2009, Bath & Body Works re-staged its core Signature Collection line. With the update, the packaging was designed to communicate that Bath & Body Works was more sophisticated, more elegant and more premium, also supported by improved product formulations. …packaging supported new and improved in-store marketing and navigation. Here, by integrating package design, product design and in-store marketing, the brand was able to holistically communicate a new positioning.

According to the company, successful test-market sales led to a nationwide rollout and the company also witnessed improved perceptions of the brand in equity measurements.

Closing the sale
In order to close a sale, it is important to understand how the consumer will respond to simple claims vs. the need for extended education at shelf.

Here, consider how the “five” subline by Haagen Daz is brought to life. … underscoring a key brand equity point around premium-ness and pure goodness by simply listing five core ingredients prominently on the front of the package: milk, cream, sugar, eggs and whatever the natural flavor is. … advances this message without disparaging the parent brand.

Is your packaging achieving the goals you have for your product? If not, it might be time to revisit what your products are communicating from store shelves.

Edit by HH

 

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CPGs “Slim Down” with their Consumers

January 14, 2011

TakeAway: From PepsiCo to Kraft Foods to Campbell Soup Co., makers of some of America’s most well-known products are trimming the calories and content when it comes to package sizes. 

ConsumerReports.org listed examples of household and grocery products that have decreased in size, thanks to packaging shrinks, in part due to rising commodity and energy costs.

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Excerpted from Forbes CMO Network, “What? America’s Favorite Brands Are Slimming Down, Too?” By Elaine Wong, January 4, 2011

Häagen-Dazs’s ice cream container went from 16 to 14 ounces, a reduction of 12.5 percent. ConAgra Foods’ Hebrew National franks are now 11—not 12—ounces. Even household products are not immune: anti-chafing gel Lanacane is now 99 and not 113 grams (12.4% difference).  Kraft sliced the weight of its 2% Milk Singles and Fat Free Singles from 16 to 14.7 ounces last May.

Package shrink is not a new tactic to either the consumer or manufacturer (including private label companies).  Indeed, it has been going on for a while, most frequently during times when ingredient costs are soaring high. And calorie-conscious consumers, newly refreshed from their 2011 vows, might actually have something small to cheer about. After all, smaller amounts of product might, hopefully, lead to smaller waistlines. But in this day and age of social and digital media, when today’s cost-conscious consumer is much more smartly trained to detect such downsizes, even if unannounced, can such maneuvers actually hurt advertisers?

Robert Passikoff, CEO and founder of Brand Keys, a New York-based consultancy that specializes in brand engagement and loyalty, says most definitely yes. Social media’s prevalence and transparency aside, consumers, over the last two decades, have just become smarter shoppers, and such changes, even if subtle, aren’t likely to go unnoticed.  Consumers, especially in today’s tough economy, are more likely to balk if such increases get passed along in the form of price hikes.

Though most instances of package shrink happen stealthily, some marketers, such as PepsiCo, make it up by publicly announcing the changes to make sure consumers weren’t surprised. Such was the case when the company’s Tropicana brand announced that it was reducing the packaging on one of its most popular orange juice cartons by about 8 percent, in addition to raising the price, to cope with a severe citrus crop loss in March.

Regardless, some consumers are bound to complain as Consumer Reports found that some instances of package shrink were as high as 20 percent. Procter & Gamble’s Ivory dish detergent, which went from 30 to 20 ounces, was one.

Edit by AMW

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Full Article:
http://blogs.forbes.com/elainewong/2011/01/04/americas-favorite-brands-are-slimming-down-too/

 

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What’s in that black bag? Garbage?

November 17, 2010

TakeAway: Hefty wants to cash in on evolving trash-can colors with BlackOut, a new line of black kitchen bags.

Hefty hopes they’ll bring new interest to one of the lowest-involvement categories. 

The target is mainly “kitchen enthusiasts,” the 40% of people who see the kitchen as the heart of their home and enjoy cooking.

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Excerpted from AdAge, “What the Stylish Garbage Can Is Wearing: Hefty in Black” By Jack Neff, November 3, 2010

Hefty discovered that consumers were buying more black and stainless-steel trash cans, which consumers say look better with black garbage bags.  Hefty executives are among the first to admit it’s hard to get people thinking about trash bags. Private-label shares in the category stand among the highest in packaged goods at 39% for the year ended Oct. 3. Overall category sales were down 5% for the year, in part because some consumers turned to using bags from the groceries or other “free” alternatives.

But Hefty research found, given the right reasons, people actually do care about where they stash their trash. Color, surprisingly, is one of them.  Today, most kitchen trash bags are white, stemming from a time when most kitchen appliances were white or shades of beige. That time has passed.

Product development started only eight months ago, when Hefty marketers discovered a seismic shift in trash-can and kitchen appliance colors thanks to its partnership with HMS Manufacturing, which licenses the Hefty name for kitchen trash cans. While nearly two-thirds of new kitchen trash cans are still white or tan, unit sales of black trash cans are up 38% from last year. Sales of stainless-steel cans are up 12%, while sales of the white/beige range are down 8%.  This follows trends in kitchen appliances.  While stainless steel is the bigger trend in appliances, black is a bigger deal in trash cans, primarily because black cans are less expensive than stainless steel or chrome. Consumers also find black bags look better with stainless steel than white ones, she said.

Hefty discovered trash also looks better, or at least less messy, in black bags.  The black bag also appeals to consumers’ desire for privacy.

Edit by AMW

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Full Article:
http://adage.com/article?article_id=146880

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If you want kids to eat carrots, make 'em think it's junk food … huh?

September 3, 2010

TakeAway: Sometimes to beat the competition, you have to be more like the competition. 

To better compete with the $18 billion dollar salty snack food industry, a cooperative of baby carrot growers is launching a $25 million dollar advertising campaign, coupled with new packaging to mimic Doritos and other salty snacks. 

While effective promotions can create an illusion that a product delivers desired benefits, if the product cannot deliver those benefits consumers are likely to reject the product eventually. 

Kids choose salty snacks from vending machines because they like the taste. 

However, recent studies have shown that kids believe foods packaged with cartoon characters taste better than the same foods with boring packaging

It should be interesting to see if kids start to believe that these newly packaged carrots taste better than regular carrots.  Regardless though, given the choice most kids would probably still choose salty snacks over baby carrots.

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Excerpted from brandchannel, “Baby Carrots: The Original Orange Doodle,” by Sheila Shayon, August 31, 2010

 

As America’s nutritionally-challenged youth head back to school, an initiative … is taking on the junk food industry with a killer snack food alternative – carrots. Baby carrots actually. In this corner – the $18 billion dollar salty snack food industry; and in this corner – the $1 billion dollar baby carrot world …

Spending some $25 million dollars … baby carrots will be packaged like Doritos, with three design choices (check them … at the campaign’s website, babycarrots.com); sold in school vending machines (already being tested in Syracuse and Cincinnati); kid-skewing slogans (“Eat ’em like junk food,” “The original orange doodles”); a mobile app featuring a crunch-powered game, now available for free download on iTunes; seasonal tie-ins such as Halloween ‘scarrots;’ a Facebook page; and TV spots that aim to portray baby carrots as hip and sexy …

… “It’s not an anti-junk-food campaign. It takes a page out of junk food’s playbook and applies it to baby carrots,” comments Jeff Dunn, Bolthouse Farms CEO and former president of Coca-Cola North America …

Can branding baby carrots as junk food really woo kids away from salty, unhealthy, high caloric snacks?

As Fast Company blogger Ariel Schwartz writes, good luck tricking kids into thinking carrots are Cheetos or Doritos, while The Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson points out that kids’ marketers have ingrained some tough-to-beat traits: “according to a recent study, most children say food packaged with cartoon characters tastes better than the same food in a boring wrapper. Seventy percent of what we taste is smell. For kids, half of what they taste is sight. Image matters, and it’s smart and overdue for veggie and fruit producers to advertise creatively.”

All the more reason why carrot growers are paying good money in the hopes that that kids can be won over

Edit by DMG

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Full Article
http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2010/08/31/Baby-Carrots-The-Original-Orange-Doodle.aspx#continue

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Recipes for success … driving consumer sales.

March 26, 2010

TakeAway:  Driving product usage is not as simple as it once was for food companies. 

Consumers now look for pizzazz in food products’ “back of the box” suggestions, yet consumers do not want to have to go to the grocery store to buy new/uncommon ingredients. 

Consumers do not want to be treated as cooking novices, yet more than 11 ingredients is way too complex. 

It’s a tricky position for food companies. 

As a result, the process to pick just the right recipe for the precious 2 inches of real estate on the product label is exhaustive and all inclusive. 

And, this process has a lot riding on it because if the recipe does not spur use, these products will sit, forgotten in the back of the pantry.

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Excerpted from WSJ, “For Old Labels, a Little Zest,” By Miriam Gottfried, March 18, 2010

Recipe developers at Campbell Soup spent months testing and tasting before reaching a decision: “Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomatoes” was safe enough to print on the back of a can of cream-of-mushroom soup.

Some of the most beloved American dishes started as back-of-the-package recipes, designed in corporate test kitchens to sell more cans of soup, bags of noodles and boxes of cake mix …

Now America’s increasingly sophisticated palate, influenced by TV cooking shows, celebrity chefs and gourmet ingredients, presents a problem. Many food companies have had trouble increasing revenue …

Food companies need to figure out how to update their recipes to entice today’s more ambitious cooks to use products that might otherwise sit on the shelf for months. The recipes must make cooks feel like they’re doing more than just adding eggs to a mix, but not use so many ingredients to require a special trip to the store. If they get too trendy, they risk alienating their core consumers …

Campbell’s began the quest for new label recipes last February …

The group was unsure about “Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomatoes”—boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a sauce of cream-of-mushroom-soup, basil, shallots, red-wine vinegar and sun-dried tomatoes and served atop egg noodles. Chicken is the most popular search term on CampbellsKitchen.com, but the group was divided on sun-dried tomatoes.

“Label recipes are weeknight meals,” says Campbell’s Kitchen group manager. “Most involve rice or pasta. The real estate is small, so there are few ingredients and few steps.”

In May, recipes were sent to consumers to try at home, asking if they liked the taste, found the ingredients affordable, and whether they would make the dishes again.

Testers liked a fajita recipe but didn’t think cheddar cheese soup was a necessary ingredient. Another recipe for beef short ribs … called for braising liquid made with French-onion soup and beer … “It looked like beer was the new wine, and it might be the right time for this recipe.”  But testers said they had to make a special trip to buy beer. Short ribs were unfamiliar and some consumers thought they were too expensive …

In the end, “Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomatoes” stood out because the gourmet twist was in the title and there were more ingredients—11 instead of the four to seven used in a typical recipe …

The recipe will appear on cream-of-mushroom soup cans starting in August. Sales of cream-of-mushroom soup … usually take off in September as cold weather approaches, and the company hopes to see growth in the business from the recipe promotion …

Edit by TJS

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Full Article
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704059004575127752736708066.html#mod=todays_us_personal_journal

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From soup to nuts: Campbell’s turns to psychology for consumer insights

March 23, 2010

Takeaway: Consumer anxiety commonly runs high when companies discontinue iconic images — last year scores of consumers protested the redesigned Tropicana carton.

In this high-stakes branding game, Campbell’s has sided with science and will soon abandon its widely-recognized red and white labels for a design the company believes will evoke a deeper emotional response from shoppers.

To arrive at this decision, the company employed neuromarketing – an emerging discipline that augments traditional market research with analysis of consumers’ biometric responses to new stimuli.

If successful, Campbell’s approach may provide marketers with powerful new tools for understanding their customers.
 
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Excerpt from FastCompany, “Campbell’s Soup Neuromarketing Redux: There’s Chunks of Real Science in That Recipe” by Jennifer Williams, February 22, 2010.

About a week ago, the Campbell’s publicized a bold redesign of its iconic label with the assistance of neuromarketing. Pundits promptly predicted brand suicide, decrying the company for using pseudo-science.

With help from its parter Interscope Research, Campbell’s spent two years studying microscopic changes in skin moisture, heart rate, and other biometrics to see how consumers react to everything from pictures of bowls of soup to logo design.

By the end of a two-year study, more than 1,500 subjects were interviewed and tested using multiple methodologies–which ranged from traditional consumer feedback to cutting edge neuromarketing techniques.

The team used a combination of proprietary micro facial expression analysis obtained by in-store cameras, in-aisle eye tracking and pupilometry, and intercept interviews.

One brand team member explained that the type of cutting edge technology they employed enhanced traditional methods of market research.

An Innerscope researcher explains, “Companies that rely exclusively on traditional measures, focused only at the conscious level, are missing a critical component of what drives purchase behavior. The vast majority of brain processing (75 to 95%) is done below conscious awareness. Because emotional responses are unconscious, it is virtually impossible for people to fully identify what caused them through conscious measures such as surveys and focus groups.”

Many argue that the new label design could just as easily been arrived at by a savvy designer with good instincts. Perhaps. After all, understanding that a steamy bowl of soup is likely to elicit a positive emotional response isn’t much of a leap.

The end result offered many things that savvy design or consumer feedback alone could not have predicted. This fall, consumers can expect their soup shopping to be easier and more emotionally enjoyable than it is with Campbell’s current label. Flavor and style will be easily distinguished, and the familiar red logo will still be there. However, the logo will be smaller and out of the way in the scan and selection process, and the updated images will tap into emotions that consumers already associate with and want to feel about soup.

Was this a case of a mere marketing fad masquerading as science meant to mesmerize corporate clients more than consumers? Campbell’s synchronizing of careful research done by three agencies–research which triangulated two years of data gathering and statistical analysis–looks a lot like genuine science.

Edit by BHC
 
* * * * *

Full Article:
http://www.fastcompany.com/article/rebuttal-pseudo-science-in-campbells-soup-not-so-fast

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Fumble! Bud’s college "fan-cans" yanked from market as colleges protest.

September 15, 2009

TakeAway: Anheuser-Busch made a risky and costly marketing decision when it decided to launch a school-themed Bud Light campaign without the permission of the schools. 

AB wasted a valuable portion of its marketing budget since, due to school protest, it must stop production of and remove the existing inventory of many “themed” beers.

And, it hacked off several of the biggest (football power-house) universities, potentially damaging future relations. 

A little more due diligence or “priming” should have been done before launching this marketing campaign.

* * * * *

Excerpted from WSJ, “Team Colored Bud Cans Leave Colleges Flat” by John Hechinger, August 21 2009

Dozens of colleges are up in arms over a new Anheuser-Busch marketing campaign that features Bud Light beer cans emblazoned with local schools’ team colors …

As part of a broader marketing effort, the Bud Light school-colors campaign, also called “Team Pride” in the marketing materials, aims to use “color schemes to connect with fans of legal drinking age in fun ways in select markets across a variety of sports,” … the cans don’t bear any school’s name or logo…

Colleges fear that promotions near college campuses will not only contribute to underage and binge drinking but also will give the impression that the colleges are endorsing the brew …

Collegiate Licensing Co., which represents about 200 colleges, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and other school-sports organizations, complained to Anheuser-Busch about potential trademark violations after being notified about the campaign. 

At least 25 schools have formally asked Anheuser-Busch to drop the campaign near their campuses. In recent letters, the University of Michigan’s lawyers threatened legal action for alleged trademark infringement, demanding that Anheuser-Busch not sell the “maize and blue” cans in the “entire state.” …

Edit by TJS

* * * * *

Full Article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125081310939148053.html

* * * * *

Ken’s Take: If the powerhouse schools had gotten a cut of the actions, I bet concerns re: underage drinking would have disappeared.  Call me cynical.

* * * * *

Fumble! Bud's college "fan-cans" yanked from market as colleges protest.

September 15, 2009

TakeAway: Anheuser-Busch made a risky and costly marketing decision when it decided to launch a school-themed Bud Light campaign without the permission of the schools. 

AB wasted a valuable portion of its marketing budget since, due to school protest, it must stop production of and remove the existing inventory of many “themed” beers.

And, it hacked off several of the biggest (football power-house) universities, potentially damaging future relations. 

A little more due diligence or “priming” should have been done before launching this marketing campaign.

* * * * *

Excerpted from WSJ, “Team Colored Bud Cans Leave Colleges Flat” by John Hechinger, August 21 2009

Dozens of colleges are up in arms over a new Anheuser-Busch marketing campaign that features Bud Light beer cans emblazoned with local schools’ team colors …

As part of a broader marketing effort, the Bud Light school-colors campaign, also called “Team Pride” in the marketing materials, aims to use “color schemes to connect with fans of legal drinking age in fun ways in select markets across a variety of sports,” … the cans don’t bear any school’s name or logo…

Colleges fear that promotions near college campuses will not only contribute to underage and binge drinking but also will give the impression that the colleges are endorsing the brew …

Collegiate Licensing Co., which represents about 200 colleges, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and other school-sports organizations, complained to Anheuser-Busch about potential trademark violations after being notified about the campaign. 

At least 25 schools have formally asked Anheuser-Busch to drop the campaign near their campuses. In recent letters, the University of Michigan’s lawyers threatened legal action for alleged trademark infringement, demanding that Anheuser-Busch not sell the “maize and blue” cans in the “entire state.” …

Edit by TJS

* * * * *

Full Article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125081310939148053.html

* * * * *

Ken’s Take: If the powerhouse schools had gotten a cut of the actions, I bet concerns re: underage drinking would have disappeared.  Call me cynical.

* * * * *

Tropicana’s Tale of Rebranding Gone Wrong

April 21, 2009

Excerpted from Ad Age, “Tropicana Line’s Sales Plunge 20% Post-Rebranding” By Natalie Zmuda, April 02, 2009

* * * * *

Tropicana’s rebranding debacle did more than create a customer-relations fiasco. It hit the brand in the wallet.

After its package redesign, sales of the Tropicana Pure Premium line plummeted 20% between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22, costing the brand tens of millions of dollars. On Feb. 23, the company announced it would bow to consumer demand and scrap the new packaging … It had been on the market less than two months …

Moreover, several of Tropicana’s competitors appear to have benefited from the misstep, notably Minute Maid, Florida’s Natural and Tree Ripe. Varieties within each of those brands posted double-digit unit sales increases during the period …  As the leader in the category, it makes little sense that Tropicana Pure Premium would see such a drastic sales decline while the category remained relatively flat, industry experts said …

A spokeswoman for Tropicana in an e-mail said, “No dots to connect here.” The company did not respond to further requests for comment.

“It surprises me that their performance is so different from the rest of the category,” said Gary Hemphill … at Beverage Marketing Corp. “It’s a little tough to draw conclusions over such a short period of time. But I would say that’s unusual.”

Mr. Hemphill said typically when a beverage brand undergoes a rebranding it signals increased marketing expenditures and leads to improved performance, at least in the short term. “It gets people to look at the brand again and brings some kind of news and excitement around the brand,” he added.

Tropicana had certainly sought to create excitement around the Pure Premium rebrand, announcing Jan. 8 a “historic integrated-marketing and advertising campaign … designed to reinforce the brand and product attributes, rejuvenate the category and help consumers rediscover the health benefits they get from drinking America’s iconic orange-juice brand.”

Beverage experts were hard pressed to think of another major brand that had pulled the plug on such a sweeping redesign as swiftly as Tropicana. “It’s a black eye when you have to backtrack that quickly … There must be [another example] but nothing comes to mind. [Tropicana] is a big brand, and it was a big restage. This is something that I’m sure they were not happy about.”

While it’s impossible to say whether Tropicana has permanently lost share, as a result of the blunder, competitors are likely taking note. “We think the Minute Maid brand has opportunity for growth, and we’re working hard to make that happen,” said Ray Crockett, a Coca-Cola spokesman.

Edit by SAC

* * * * *

Full Article:
http://adage.com/article?article_id=135735

* * * * *

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“Don’t touch my jug” … Tropicana cans new packaging

April 1, 2009

Excerpted from brandchannel.com, “Packaging: Lessons from Tropicana’s Fruitless Design” by Jennifer Gidman, March 16, 2009

* * * * *

It’s a revamp-gone-wrong tale that has already secured its place in the annals of packaging: PepsiCo retains Arnell Group to redesign its Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice cartons as part of its new ad campaign. Said cartons make their aisle debut in January, minus the familiar straw-punctured orange and sporting a modernized depiction of—well, fresh-squeezed juice. Consumers revolt and demand the old packaging back. Two months and a reported US $35 million later, PepsiCo reverts back to the original Tropicana packaging, straw between its legs (and back on the carton).

There’s nothing unusual about a perennial product revisiting its packaging, labels or logos in an attempt to bring outdated aesthetics up to par with an enduring brand message…But if the brand is still enjoying hefty market share, why putter around with its packaging?

Tropicana has historically dominated number-two Minute Maid in the OJ category. “Sometimes [package redesign] has nothing to do with the business at all—it [comes] down to the new personnel working on the brand, hell-bent on making a mark on their career,” says Dyfed “Fred” Richards, executive creative director for global branding consultancy Interbrand, which also produces brandchannel. “It’s sometimes difficult for brand managers to demonstrate growth of a brand they’re being tasked to manage and grow. But a new package design associated with those changes demonstrates these changes.”

The agencies commissioned for a redesign may also share some of the blame for failed packaging overhauls. “Sadly, many [of these] companies enjoy the design process so much that design for design’s sake takes over, and all reason jumps out of the window for the benefit of a trend or effect they’ve wanted to try.”

With properly ascertained research and consumer feedback.. a brand can, and should, make an informed decision to redesign its packaging or logo.  “If a brand is in a leadership position, then it should be protecting and leveraging those key equities at all times in an effort to reinforce the reasons why it’s the market leader.” Richards says.

All parties involved need to carefully tread the redesign waters. “Understand the brand’s history,” Richards explains. “Talk to and listen to loyal consumers. This isn’t about sticking a pretty label on a box and hoping you win a design award. All the assets of the brand need careful evaluation to find out equity stretch points and equities that are sacrosanct to the consumer. More often than not, you’re not designing for your client, and certainly not for yourself—you’re designing for the consumer.”

Tropicana’s carton conundrum is a compelling story on a couple of fronts. First, there’s the juicy, schadenfreude-esque media obsession—the panned carton was one of the most blogged topics the week of February 23–27, behind only the machinations of President Obama’s new administration, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index.

But even more unusual has been the astonishing backlash from a usually silent, brand-loyal contingent, and PepsiCo’s eventual acquiescence to these vitamin C devotees. Feedback on the design, relayed to PepsiCo via letters, phone calls and e-mails, has ranged from deeming the cartons “ugly” to expressing outright confusion—some customers passed right by Tropicana cartons on store shelves, mistaking the new packaging for private-label offerings. “What’s evident from my experience and perspective is that key equities of the brand were thrown away for a generic offering, and consumers reacted,” Richards says.

So it’s back to the drawing board (or maybe not) for Tropicana. The old cartons are expected to reappear on store shelves this month. The only remnants of the US $35 million Arnell experiment will be the cute, orange-shaped plastic caps, which will be retained on cartons of low-calorie Trop50. The advertising campaign that’s currently in place will also continue.

Perhaps this could have all been avoided if PepsiCo had sought out real consumer input in the first place.

“When you go back and look at packaging through the ages, especially the power brands that have stood the test of time through decades of changes and consumer trends, they offer a unique insight of how to develop and manage key equities and remain relevant to the consumer of today and tomorrow.”

Edit by NRV

Full article: http://www.brandchannel.com/start1.asp?fa_id=469

* * * * *

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"Don't touch my jug" … Tropicana cans new packaging

April 1, 2009

Excerpted from brandchannel.com, “Packaging: Lessons from Tropicana’s Fruitless Design” by Jennifer Gidman, March 16, 2009

* * * * *

It’s a revamp-gone-wrong tale that has already secured its place in the annals of packaging: PepsiCo retains Arnell Group to redesign its Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice cartons as part of its new ad campaign. Said cartons make their aisle debut in January, minus the familiar straw-punctured orange and sporting a modernized depiction of—well, fresh-squeezed juice. Consumers revolt and demand the old packaging back. Two months and a reported US $35 million later, PepsiCo reverts back to the original Tropicana packaging, straw between its legs (and back on the carton).

There’s nothing unusual about a perennial product revisiting its packaging, labels or logos in an attempt to bring outdated aesthetics up to par with an enduring brand message…But if the brand is still enjoying hefty market share, why putter around with its packaging?

Tropicana has historically dominated number-two Minute Maid in the OJ category. “Sometimes [package redesign] has nothing to do with the business at all—it [comes] down to the new personnel working on the brand, hell-bent on making a mark on their career,” says Dyfed “Fred” Richards, executive creative director for global branding consultancy Interbrand, which also produces brandchannel. “It’s sometimes difficult for brand managers to demonstrate growth of a brand they’re being tasked to manage and grow. But a new package design associated with those changes demonstrates these changes.”

The agencies commissioned for a redesign may also share some of the blame for failed packaging overhauls. “Sadly, many [of these] companies enjoy the design process so much that design for design’s sake takes over, and all reason jumps out of the window for the benefit of a trend or effect they’ve wanted to try.”

With properly ascertained research and consumer feedback.. a brand can, and should, make an informed decision to redesign its packaging or logo.  “If a brand is in a leadership position, then it should be protecting and leveraging those key equities at all times in an effort to reinforce the reasons why it’s the market leader.” Richards says.

All parties involved need to carefully tread the redesign waters. “Understand the brand’s history,” Richards explains. “Talk to and listen to loyal consumers. This isn’t about sticking a pretty label on a box and hoping you win a design award. All the assets of the brand need careful evaluation to find out equity stretch points and equities that are sacrosanct to the consumer. More often than not, you’re not designing for your client, and certainly not for yourself—you’re designing for the consumer.”

Tropicana’s carton conundrum is a compelling story on a couple of fronts. First, there’s the juicy, schadenfreude-esque media obsession—the panned carton was one of the most blogged topics the week of February 23–27, behind only the machinations of President Obama’s new administration, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index.

But even more unusual has been the astonishing backlash from a usually silent, brand-loyal contingent, and PepsiCo’s eventual acquiescence to these vitamin C devotees. Feedback on the design, relayed to PepsiCo via letters, phone calls and e-mails, has ranged from deeming the cartons “ugly” to expressing outright confusion—some customers passed right by Tropicana cartons on store shelves, mistaking the new packaging for private-label offerings. “What’s evident from my experience and perspective is that key equities of the brand were thrown away for a generic offering, and consumers reacted,” Richards says.

So it’s back to the drawing board (or maybe not) for Tropicana. The old cartons are expected to reappear on store shelves this month. The only remnants of the US $35 million Arnell experiment will be the cute, orange-shaped plastic caps, which will be retained on cartons of low-calorie Trop50. The advertising campaign that’s currently in place will also continue.

Perhaps this could have all been avoided if PepsiCo had sought out real consumer input in the first place.

“When you go back and look at packaging through the ages, especially the power brands that have stood the test of time through decades of changes and consumer trends, they offer a unique insight of how to develop and manage key equities and remain relevant to the consumer of today and tomorrow.”

Edit by NRV

Full article: http://www.brandchannel.com/start1.asp?fa_id=469

* * * * *

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Coca-Cola: Repackaging and Repricing to Increase Value

February 23, 2009

Excerpted from Dow Jones Newswire, “Coke To Push New 99-Cent, 16-Ounce Bottle” by Anjali Cordeiro, January 21, 2009

* * * * *

Coca-Cola Co. (KO) will widen distribution of a new 16- ounce bottle priced at 99 cents in conjunction with the launch of a new marketing campaign called “Open Happiness.”

Coke executives said the new bottle size was launched about three months ago in the Southeast U.S. and is now being rolled out nationwide.

Sales of carbonated soft drinks have weakened in the U.S. as the economy has slowed, pushing beverage makers to test new package sizes and pricing.

The price of 99 cents also highlights the pressure on consumer companies to offer consumers better value for their money.

The company’s new ad campaign for its namesake brand launches this week and will have TV spots on “American Idol” and the upcoming Super Bowl. The campaign will include a focus on packaging and pricing.

Edit by DAF

* * * * *

Full article:
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200901211404DOWJONESDJONLINE000813_FORTUNE5.htm

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Uh-oh: Girl Scouts cut number of cookies in the box …

February 12, 2009

Excerpted from The Dallas Morning News, “Rising costs bite into Girl Scout Cookie portions” , Dan X. McGraw, January 22, 2009

* * * * *

If you seem to be tearing through those Girl Scout Thin Mints a little faster this year, you aren’t imagining things.

Fewer cookies were packaged into Thin Mints, Do-si-dos and Tagalongs boxes this year, and the Lemon Chalet Crème cookies were resized to compensate for the rising cost of baking staples. No changes were made to other cookies, according to the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Alternatives to the changes were to raise cookie prices or use cheaper ingredients – two options that were rejected, said Natalie Martin, marketing director for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.

A box of cookies costs $3.50.

“We aren’t talking about a drastic change. We are just talking about a couple cookies,” Martin said, adding that the boxes shrunk by only a centimeter. “People understand that we are all taking hits.”

The Girls Scouts certainly aren’t the first organization to alter product size and portions because of higher food costs.

Products on grocery-store shelves throughout the nation have been reshaped, resized and repackaged in response to new marketing ideas, jumps in food and gas prices and the economic downturn,

“It is a reflection of them needing to keep the price in line with other products, but they also need to keep in mind the rising baking cost. You’ve got to balance it the best way you can.”

The Girl Scouts faced spikes in ingredient costs from 2007. Flour rose in cost by more than 30 percent, various cooking oils by 40 percent to 187 percent, and cocoa by at least 20 percent.

A Girl Scout mom, says the changes haven’t stopped people from ordering.

Edit by NRV

Full article:
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/taste/stories/012309dnmetgirlscoutcookies.1c01e735.html

* * * * *
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PVP: CPGs passing on higher food costs with smaller packaging

February 6, 2009

Excerpted from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Freshly squeezed: The ever shrinking box and carton” by Chris Serres, December 2, 2008

* * * * *

In the past year, thousands of small, almost imperceptible changes swept through the grocery aisles where American families shop each day.

The indented bottom of a Skippy peanut butter jar got more indented, turning an 18-ounce jar into a 16.3-ounce one. Ice cream containers shrank by one-quarter of a quart. And for breakfast, a jug of Tropicana orange juice got 7 ounces lighter while that box of Froot Loops lost more than 2 ounces.

Shoppers without a keen eye and a willingness to read the fine print on labels might have missed what has happened: Food manufacturers were downsizing packages, while keeping prices the same, as they passed on higher food costs to consumers.

According to a recent analysis by Nielsen Co., about 30 percent of all packaged goods have lost content over the past year. This at a time when U.S. grocery bills are rising — up 7.5 percent in October vs. the same month a year ago — at the fastest rate in 18 years.

What began as a response to rising fuel and ingredient costs has become institutionalized at many companies. At General Mills, for example, cost-cutting is so embedded that the company even has its own intimidating term for it: “Holistic Margin Management.”

It’s not always about shrinking packages, which can account for as much as 75 percent of a product’s cost. Even seemingly small changes in a package’s design can mean millions of dollars in annual savings — lessening pressure to raise prices to cover costs.

There is an entire science behind packaging reductions, enlightened by a long list of unsuccessful changes.

For instance, food manufacturers know consumers react more to changes in height than width, so cereal boxes often get thinner before they get shorter.

Once a product changes, buyers often forget the previous size, creating a new standard. Five years ago, ice cream tubs were a half-gallon, or 2 quarts; few noticed when it dwindled to 1.75 quarts and then, this past year, to 1.5 quarts.

When PepsiCo reduced the size of its Tropicana orange juice jug by 7 ounces, it touted the container’s “new ergonomic design” and easy-to-open snap cap. Yet consumer advocates argued the new features were really meant to distract from the reduced weight.

“This is the packaging equivalent of three-card monte,” said Ben Popken, editor of Consumerist.com, a website whose “Grocery Shrink Ray” tracks shrinking packages. “By changing several factors at the same time, food companies disguise the fact that you’re getting less for the same price.”  

Edit by NRV

Full article:
http://www.startribune.com/business/35343634.html 

* * * * *

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Simpler shades show big savings for Unilever

January 21, 2009

Excerpted from AdAge “Unilever Sees Green With Pared-Down Color Palette” By Jack Neff, December 01, 2008

* * * * *

Somewhere over the rainbow lies $5 billion in savings for the package-goods industry.

Using a color-harmonization program Unilever is reducing the more than 100 hues it uses on its spreads and dressings packaging in Europe to six. Unilever’s hope is to save tens or eventually even hundreds of millions of dollars a yearthe initial savings for Unilever in Europe amount to $13 million to $26 million…

Advancements in printing, which have added as many as four additional colors to the old four-color process, have helped make such moves possible, reducing the need for specialized or “spot” colors to get the right look — or close to it.

There’s even a potential environmental benefit…Cost savings and waste reduction come from buying inks on a greater scale, creating far less ink and packaging waste in the process of doing changeovers, and from producing final packaging because reduced complexity can improve quality and consistency…

“Basically, eight out of 10 marketers couldn’t tell the difference between their old packaging and the new packaging once we converted it…The team was, quite frankly, blown away with the results…”

But the approach isn’t for everyone. Savings are much bigger for the largest, most diverse package-goods companies with the most complexity in their packaging lineups.

Edit by SAC

* * * * *

Unilever’s efforts to reduce color hues will likely go unnoticed by consumers, but will certainly be noticed by brand managers looking to cut costs.  The effort is a great example of a small, yet significant change that is friendly to both the environment and the corporate wallet.  

* * * * *

Full Article:
http://adage.com/article?article_id=132885

* * * * *

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Disguising price increases … Is it just me, or is that package smaller than it used to be ?

January 9, 2009

Excerpted from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Freshly squeezed: The ever shrinking box and carton” by Chris Serres, December 2, 2008

* * * * *

In the past year, thousands of small, almost imperceptible changes swept through the grocery aisles where American families shop each day.

The indented bottom of a Skippy peanut butter jar got more indented, turning an 18-ounce jar into a 16.3-ounce one. Ice cream containers shrank by one-quarter of a quart. And for breakfast, a jug of Tropicana orange juice got 7 ounces lighter while that box of Froot Loops lost more than 2 ounces.

Shoppers without a keen eye and a willingness to read the fine print on labels might have missed what has happened: Food manufacturers were downsizing packages, while keeping prices the same, as they passed on higher food costs to consumers.

According to a recent analysis by Nielsen Co., about 30 percent of all packaged goods have “lost content” over the past year. This at a time when U.S. grocery bills are rising — up 7.5 percent in October vs. the same month a year ago — at the fastest rate in 18 years.

What began as a response to rising fuel and ingredient costs has become institutionalized at many companies. At General Mills, for example, cost-cutting is so embedded that the company even has its own intimidating term for it: “Holistic Margin Management.”

It’s not always about shrinking packages, which can account for as much as 75 percent of a product’s cost. Even seemingly small changes in a package’s design can mean millions of dollars in annual savings — lessening pressure to raise prices to cover costs.

There is an entire science behind packaging reductions, enlightened by a long list of unsuccessful changes.  

For instance, food manufacturers know consumers react more to changes in height than width, so cereal boxes often get thinner before they get shorter.

Once a product changes, buyers often forget the previous size, creating a new standard.

When PepsiCo reduced the size of its Tropicana orange juice jug by 7 ounces, it touted the container’s “new ergonomic design” and easy-to-open snap cap. Yet consumer advocates argued the new features were really meant to distract from the reduced weight.

“This is the packaging equivalent of three-card monte … by changing several factors at the same time, food companies disguise the fact that you’re getting less for the same price.”

One reason food companies have gotten away with downsizing without alienating shoppers is that over the decades fewer people are preparing meals at home. So they pay less attention to measurements on packages, said John Gourville, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School.

“The reality is, people pay more attention to prices than sizes … and the food companies know it.”

“You can take an ounce out here and an ounce out there, and maybe people won’t notice,” he said. “But if you do it repeatedly, and people are only getting three servings per cereal box, then people are much more likely to say, ‘What’s going on here?’ And it gets harder and harder to do.”  

Edit by NRV

Full article:
http://www.startribune.com/business/35343634.html 

* * * * *

Ken’s Take: You have to sort this marketing approach into 3 parts: (1) more effective packaging — e.g. more merchandising impact, better ergonomics (2) cost-cutting — e.g. more efficient use of volume and space, and (3) higher prices — e.g. on a per ounce basis.  Re: the latter — it is usually easier to raise “unit prices”  by resizing than by changing the price “per package” 

* * * * *

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Sam’s new carton has some folks crying over spilt milk …

December 30, 2008

Excerpted from Fortune, “How Sam’s Club sees the future”, October 16, 2008

Of all the things you might think you could innovate on, the milk jug might not be at the top of your list. But, it is at the top of the Sam’s Club list.

Traditional milk jugs don’t stack, and they were coming in (to Sam’s) on metal carts that were being shipped back to the dairy, cleaned, and then sent back to the stores and clubs, and recycled, which created a lot of energy drain.

sams_club_milk.03.jpgSam’s developed a new milk jug that is stackable, so Sam’s can get 400 additional jugs in a trailer,  eliminating 11,000 delivery trips to the stores.  And,  there are no carts to send back to the dairy.

Trucks are  loaded in a way that reduces bacteria, which gives additional 6 days shelf life.

So, the new package provides a better-quality product, and costs a dime to 20 cents less.

The one big challenge has been that it’s different to pour. If you tip it and put it into the glass, it works fine, but if you pick it up and pour it like the old jug, you’ll miss. Which has some people crying over spilled milk.

Full article:
http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/15/news/companies/Wal-Marts_rising_star_colvin.fortune/index.htm

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From Band-Aid to K-Y: The Power of Green Packaging

December 19, 2008

Excerpted from Ad Age “J&J’s Green-Packaging Rebirth Proves Power of Smart Design” by Teressa Iezzi, November 3, 2008 

* * * * *

AIGA, “the professional association for design,” held a conference bringing together an interesting range of voices from design, branding and culture…One of the featured speakers was Chris Hacker…design officer at Johnson & Johnson…

Hacker’s…presentation took a look at the reinvention of the design process at the package-goods giant and how design has resulted in a major win for J&J’s bottom line as well as for the environment.

J&J had acknowledged over the years that while the company did a lot of things very well, product design was not one of them. That bit of reality was thrown into alarming relief one day when during a meeting with Target, Goggins was told that if J&J didn’t “get its design act together,” it would lose position in stores…

The company didn’t have in-house designers in the consumer-products group. All design decisions were made by “the left hand”…typically by the most junior marketing people…who tended to move around every 18 months or so. They worked with outside design consultants, and all projects were handled separately, without a unifying vision.

When Hacker joined, he set up a design office…The new design discipline (which includes working with outside designers) has resulted in a number of successful product rebirths and a new focus on sustainability for the company.

Among the product stories: a sales-inducing facelift for the iconic Baby Shampoo packaging, new Band-Aid packaging and a streamlined first-aid kit, and an all-out redesign of K-Y, with more intimately oriented packaging and the addition of the K-Y Yours & Mine…

Hacker described sustainability at a company J&J’s size as “a journey.” It starts with packaging-weight reduction and the use of recyclable and certified materials; biodegradability and reusability are the next step. He says, for example, when he joined the company, Band-Aid packaging was made mostly in Brazil from “unknown source” material. He moved to Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper; post-consumer recycled paper will follow. The Aveeno brand has also moved in part to post-consumer materials and will continue to do so.

Will the design and sustainability journey be slowed by the current economic conditions? “Recession is exactly the reason we need to be doing what we’re doing,” he said. “It’s cutting through the chaos of everything that’s going on.”

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Full article:
http://adage.com/columns/article?article_id=132145

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Not Lovin’ It – McDonald’s Quality Push Hits Packaging

November 18, 2008

Excerpted from Ad Age “McDonald’s Gives Packaging a Flashy Update” by Emily Bryson Yor, October 29, 2008

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McDonald’s is scrapping its package design across 118 countries and 56 languages in …. the “biggest packaging initiative in the history of the brand.” The new look puts more emphasis on product and less on the brand’s iconic “I’m lovin’ it” tagline…McDonald’s is “putting the focus on food.” Each new package focuses on the item enclosed, with pictures of the sandwich or nuggets and a rallying cry, such as “There is only one” for Big Mac; “Full steam ahead” for the Filet-O-Fish; or “Share me nots” for chicken nuggets…
Nutrition information, pictures of ingredients and “I’m lovin’ it” are printed on the sides — de-emphasizing the tagline, which earlier was featured prominently at the top of each package. To subtly indicate freshness and quality ingredients, the new food bags have pictures of potatoes, lettuce, wheat, eggs and even farm machinery…a move from “100% I’m lovin’ it lifestyle,” to something that also assured consumers of product quality in a “young tonality”…
The redesign “is pretty inventive for the category,” said Ron Romanik…”I haven’t seen anything like it in the fast-food category, for sure. It’s almost Nike-ish.” Mr. Romanik estimated that McDonald’s may have paid as much as eight figures for the redesign. But the cost of implementation, he said, “would be almost impossible to calculate.”

The real cost would have to take into account that McDonald’s is “probably changing suppliers, printers, who they’re using for sourcing for their packaging,” he said. “One thing companies don’t like to do is switch suppliers. They try to get designers to design within the capabilities they already have so they don’t want to give anything on those margins.”

Ms. Dillon described the graphic-heavy look as an investment. “It will increase the perceptions about the quality of our food,” she said.

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The packaging change appears to be a part of a larger effort that McDonald’s has undergone to connect its food with high-quality ingredients. As part of these efforts McDonald’s has hired “Moms’ Quality Correspondents”.  These are real life moms that are given high-level access to McDonald’s facilities.  The moms keep journals of their experiences and the questions they ask of McDonald’s and then communicate with other mom’s online. 

McDonald’s also has put up billboards emphasizing product quality and devoted a separate website (http://cep.mcdonalds.com/qualityfood/index.jsp) for consumers to go inside a McDonald’s kitchen and meet McDonald’s suppliers.  After getting sucked into the website and watching both an Egg McMuffin and Big Mac being made I am no more likely to eat at McDonalds, but was left with a better understanding of how these products are made.

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Full article:
http://adage.com/article?article_id=132111

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Consumers Lose as Packaging Shrinks

October 17, 2008

Excerpt from the New York Times “Ate a Whole Pint? Check Again” September 13, 2008

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REMEMBER the supersize phenomenon, when fast-food restaurants offered huge portions of soda and fries?

Some packaged foods that have shrunk in size include a jar of Skippy peanut butter, from 16.3 ounces down to 15 ounces, and a bag of Doritos chips, from 13 ounces to 12.5 ounces. The reverse is now happening in America’s supermarkets and big-box retailers. In industry lingo, it’s called short-sizing.

Aiming to offset increased ingredient and transportation costs, some of the nation’s food manufacturers are reducing the size of packages…Some companies possibly cut back on the quantity of product in a package in the hope that consumers wouldn’t notice or care. Judging by rants on various blogs, though, many consumers have noticed, and they do care.

Others have acknowledged that they have downsized products, but that has not stopped consumers from venting outrage…

Ice cream once was sold in half-gallon containers, but many companies shifted several years ago to 1.75 quarts. Now, with milk and egg prices soaring, many ice cream makers are selling 1.5-quart containers — without lowering the price…

Cereal boxes are becoming smaller, too, including those for Cheerios from General Mills and Apple Jacks and Froot Loops from Kellogg’s.

Frito-Lay has cut the size of Doritos, while jars of Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Skippy peanut butter have also shrunk recently…package sizes have also been reduced for…Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate bar, Iams cat food, Tropicana orange juice, Dial soap and Nabisco Chips Ahoy cookies…

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Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/business/14feed.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=%22Ate%20a%20Whole%20Pint?%22&st=cse&oref=slogin

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Packaging’s Impact On Waistlines

October 10, 2008

Excerpted from INSEAD Knowledge “Supersizing and downsizing: the impact of changing packaging and portion sizes on food consumption

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When it comes to packaging, size matters.

In a research paper, INSEAD Associate Professor of Marketing Pierre Chandon and co-author Nailya Ordabayeva, an INSEAD PhD student, found that changes in the shape of packaging or portions can have a big impact on our consumption patterns.

As consumers, we tend to buy bigger packages or order bigger portions because we believe we’re getting better value. However, this phenomenon leads to overeating and obesity because we fail to notice just how big these portions and packages are and hence underestimate how much we consume. The size and the shape of packaging play a key role in these misperceptions…

For marketers, this means that if a company increases the size of its packaging in one dimension, consumers perceive it to be much larger and so assume they’re getting a better deal and are more likely to buy it. If a company increases the product size by the same volume but the package is expanded in three dimensions – not just one – consumers don’t perceive as big of a change.

This has important consequences for purchase and consumption decisions…“If you want people to order a larger portion, then you should just increase the height because people will notice. If you want to reduce the quantity of your portions, for example if you had higher raw material costs, you should reduce the height, the width and the length because people won’t notice,” Chandon says.

The research is timely because the phenomenon of ‘supersizing’ has swept the US and is now moving to the rest of the world…This trend has had a big impact on how much consumers eat. The supersizing trend is one of the main drivers of the obesity epidemic and packaging is adding to the problem, the study states.

“It’s very easy to be influenced by marketers,” Chandon says. “For example, the size of the package, the size of the meals, even the size of the plates and of the spoons; we know these things have a very strong impact on how much we eat.”

When it comes to eating healthy, people sabotage themselves as well…Chandon’s research shows that, in addition to underestimating how much we eat, when we eat ‘healthier’ meals, we tend to reward ourselves with treats or bigger portions…

One of the other conclusions of the research: downsizing packaging and portions is one of the most effective ways of reducing overeating. Chandon believes there’s a growing market for low calorie, smaller portion products. But manufacturers need to be very clear in their labelling and careful about pricing, because many consumers think smaller portions are less economical. 

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Full article:
http://knowledge.insead.edu/SupersizingDownsizing080901.cfm

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Stand Out on the Shelf

September 23, 2008

Excerpted from Beverage World “Isn’t That Special?” September 9, 2008 

It may seem like science fiction, but in the not-too-distant future, a beverage bottle might do more than just sit there when you pass it in the grocery aisle.

Several companies around the world are working on this kind of technology right now…breakthrough technology will replace stagnant images and text on a beverage label with digital ones that can be made to flow across the product, presenting information about ingredients, special promotions, or whatever the marketer desires…some pretty impressive technologies are already widely available.

One is called Liquid Lens. It can be used with glass or plastic bottles to make it seem as if an object is floating some 18 inches around the bottle, or inside the bottle…another technology called GWrap can display 3D images and animation on a beverage package. GWrap uses a thin film that contains a series of micro lens arrays that when printed to, or placed over, an interlaced graphic image, displays the eye-catching images…

Another company…Vacumet, is putting the finishing touches on holographic technology that will make it seem as if images are projecting out from the plane of the curvature of, say, a beer bottle…

Among the beverage marketers themselves, Coors stands out as one that has not been afraid to spruce up its packaging portfolio with special effects. Among these has been the Cold Activated Bottle, introduced in 2007. The packaging changes color when the beer is cold enough to drink. Coors says it resulted in a 7 point trend change for the brand…

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Another big trend in packaging is sustainability.  Many companies are re-working their packaging to use recycled materials and reduce overall waste.  In doing so companies are finding that not only are they able to appeal to consumer preference for “green” products, but also save money.  This year Coca-Cola introduced re-designed its bottle tops that are 24 percent lighter and reduce Coke’s plastic consumption by 4 million pounds a year.

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Full article:
http://www.beverageworld.com/content/view/35243/

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