Shiny Beautiful Packages

by: James Pearce

Wonderful things come in beautiful packages, right? Packaging is an eye-tease, a brain stimulant, a venture into an ethereal realm. If a company creates a shiny package, the customer’s eye is caught, trapped, the brain invaded, a deep impression made. If the package is boring and dull, that’s captured too. Companies want the shiniest capture possible (in most situations).

In this article, I want to analyze two products that come in vastly different packaging. While they inhabit different and very opposite consumer markets, they are two products that I use and occupy a piece of my life. I chose both and use both. However, one product’s package is shinier than the other and one product is used much more than the other.

The product I use that enters my life in its boring packaging is Ivory soap. I buy the multipack (better financial deal). There are 10 bars of white ivory bath soap each contained in its own separate, white paper packaging. Around the ten bars is a simple, mostly clear cellophane wrapper that has the simple product name Ivory on it in blue lettering. That’s it folks. Jumps right off the shelf and into the cart all on its own, right?

The product that enters my life in it’s shiny, colorful birthday suit is Jolly Ranchers. I buy a small bag that has 50 or so small, individually-wrapped candies. Each piece of candy, surrounded in its clear plastic blanket, is its own colorful self. It indicates its flavor by its associated color and the taste buds turn on when the eyes turn on. The entire bag of these creatures is plastic, too, but light sky blue with pictures of the candies and the color splashes each supposedly makes when it hits the tongue scatter on the widest sides. The bag itself zippers open and closed, another plastic doorway I can open and close at my leisure.

The story isn’t over. I am much more attached to the Ivory soap than the Jolly Ranchers. I’d consider eating other candy, but I’d never consider changing my go to soap. It’s about preference built on product quality rather than the shiniest packaging. What I’d conclude is that we can doll up the looks of the package, make the item shine like nothing ever noticed before, but if the product quality is lesser or if the person simply has a built affinity for the product, shine makes little difference. Shine may make a difference for new adopters of a product and I guess its an image reinforcer if used with current customers. I think I’ll stick to my Ivory and have a generic fruit candy.

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