As I pushed my super-sized grocery cart, navigating masses of consumers who like me, struggled to find (as quickly as possible) a specific item in a sea of products and people, I passed by a display of Harvest Snap® crisps that caught my eye. Set up in stacked bins, I am sure they were placed there as an impulse pick up, but as a brand favorite, I stopped to review the design system they were using to differentiate flavor variations. Immediately adjacent to this display, I noticed a shelving unit with what I assumed to be a new product, called PeatosTM.
My curiosity was piqued – mostly because I couldn’t help but chuckle at the soft reference between the Peatos brand and Frito-Lay Cheetos® snacks, and its not-so-subtle jibe at the Chester Cheeto mascot. I wasn’t clear if this was a line extension of the Harvest Snaps as a competitive offering to Cheetos or if this was a line extension from Cheetos, adding a “healthy” product into their snack family. I concluded this was a new product (or at least new to this store) created to bridge the gap between “healthy” snack foods and the “not-so-healthy” corn-based snacks that stain fingers a curious shade of orange.
While initially the package may seem to be a poke in the eye of a certain Cheetah, in truth, this is a completely different product, making me wonder what the ultimate packaging goals really are. What gets missed is the message from the back panel stating, “junk food taste you crave and the nutrition you are looking for”, which clearly explains what this product promises to deliver. Instead of making this positioning clear as a part of brand messaging and product differentiation on the principal or face panel of the package, there seems to be a greater focus on riffing Cheetos, burying this copy on the back.
Food packaging, especially, has a basic set of requirements it needs to adhere to in order to engage and connect with the consumer and to do so within precious little time. Packaging designs can be unique, innovative, playful and challenging, but ultimately they have to serve the function of performing – not just performing in the sense of containing and transferring product, but of informing consumers and reinforcing the perceived value of a product – generating the motivation, curiosity or desire to purchase. If the outer package design aligns with interior product quality, you are rewarded with customer affinity, and eventually brand loyalty.
To achieve this means remaining focused on those goals. In the case of Peatos, they have a clear, creative brand based on the tiger icon and the logo, but they missed the goal in presenting a meaningful brand story. Instead, they focus on tongue-in-cheek messaging referencing a product they want to say they are superior to or compete against – perhaps Hamlet said it best as “to thine own self be true”!
Don’t expect consumers to do much heavy lifting in deciphering the important data you deliver to them via packaging. There already is too much space that is required by regulation to fill. Make sure the valuable space you have on your package aligns with the nature of consumer interaction – in this case, snack foods. And, work on establishing and reinforcing the brand you want to be!
If you are thinking about exploring innovative packaging and storytelling for your brand, contact us at 920-886-7727 or [email protected] Throughout our 60 plus years of supporting customers with consumer brands large and small, we apply our experience and expertise to the entire process to create efficient and effective solutions.
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.