As is the modern norm, shelves in retail stores are crammed with a variety of tissue packaging that has been designed to respond to a variety of perceived consumer needs – ranging from bulk size and upright cartons to soft-sided plastic bags to tubes and pocket-sized packaging – all adorned with various graphic designs and colors. However, on a recent trip, I noticed a Kleenex® brand package standing alone on the top shelf that really caught my eye. Because of the category of products I was reviewing, I assumed it was a poly package of tissue but it had truly unique features that made me pick it up and look at it more closely.
It was a uniquely structured die cut carton that exposed a poly bag of tissue with what looked like a grosgrain ribbon attached. Upon closer examination, I discovered that the ribbon was purposely there to be a functional handle for the tissue package, much like the strap on a purse. Once again, my curiosity piqued, I threw the package in the cart to take home and examine further. This was something completely unlike anything I had seen before in tissue packaging and as I started taking the package apart, it was obvious that solid thinking went into its structure and purpose.
Wisely, this packaging consists of two primary components – an exterior paperboard “carton”, which provides the structural support and rigidity to keep the enclosed interior poly bag as a combined unit, upright and stable on the shelf. Additionally, the balance of carton surface keeps branding large enough to have a strong customer facing while exposing the visual design and opening feature of the interior poly bag. So many times I’ve seen flexible packages without a support system end up as a messy jumble on the shelf – never connecting effectively with the consumer.
The exterior carton acts as a carrier or nest for the poly pack to rest in, providing a flap that encloses and secures the tissue pack inside the carrier. Structurally, much of the carton strength and stability comes from its large back panel, which as the largest panel also allows adequate space for the appropriate copy. Once you open the carton carrier you have a squared poly package of tissue featuring a reclosable grosgrain ribbon strap that is long and sturdy enough to hang on almost anything – wrist, rack, strap, belt loop – creating a hands-free tissue pack.
The poly carton also has a semi-rigid resealable opening; however, it seems to be slightly more heavy duty than necessary for facial tissue packaging. Additionally, the poly bag material appears to be a heavier grade than most soft-sided packaging but the seams are solid enough to provide a degree of protection against being suddenly submerged in water (which as we all know can happen with tissues).
While initially I was skeptical about this package, I think it is one of the better things that has happened in facial tissue packaging. It represents a very thoughtful combination of the realistic and practical environments that tissues live and are used in; creating packaging that has genuine utility and a strong shelf presence. Structurally it definitely stands out and apart from other products, and even though it is on the smaller size, competes strongly against full-size paperboard cartons.
Would I change anything? Yes but not much. The graphic design on the surface of the poly bag is a bit lackluster. I would also revise the back panel illustration so it looks more like tissues being removed from the package rather than some kind of sanitary product. For people who rely more on visual imagery, this could be confusing. Lastly, I would be a little clearer on its uses and the challenges it’s trying to address.
All in all, I appreciate the investment that Kimberly-Clark has made in ensuring that flexible packaging has an effective shelf presence.
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The purpose of our “findings” blog is to spotlight packaging that displays thinking that breaks the mold, delivers something new or chancy – or at the very least, highlights packaging that catches your eye in the retail environment.