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Kroger sells a product they call “Fat Free Half & Half.” Half & Half is supposed to be half cream, half whole milk, with a butterfat content of about 12%. TWELVE PERCENT. What’s the story, Kroger?

I invite spokespeople from Kroger, all members of the dairy industry, and anyone who has ever tried this product to comment.

You read that right.  My Walgreen’s saline nasal spray, which is really just a small bottle of water, has no gluten in it.Bottle (1)

I think we’ve taken this gluten-free thing a little too far.  Bottle (2)

 

 

 

 

I know a lot of people need to avoid gluten in their diets.  But last time I checked, nasal spray is not in anybody’s diet.  On its website The American Diabetes Association says, “Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and any foods made with these grains.” There’s barley in beer.  So don’t squirt beer up your nose.  Probably wouldn’t be too pleasant.  Even if you don’t have a gluten problem.  

 

I feel like the kid who just found out about Santa Claus, or, in keeping with the season, the Easter Bunny.  My illusion has just been shattered.

Ozarka® water is not made in Arkansas.

I just assumed it was.  But what do I know, I live in Arkansas.  Nonetheless, I was just being logical, or intuitive, at least.  “OZARKA” sounds like it’s from around here, our “Natural State” of hot springs and rolling hills and trout fishing.  And the Ozark Mountains.

2014-04-15 Ozarka 2

Ozarka’s packaging boasts it’s made in Texas.  Texas?  Texas water?  Is that supposed to be good? I grew up in Houston.  I think the tap water in Little Rock tastes better. And there’s no such place as Hot Springs National Park, Texas.

Pull back  the curtain, Toto.  Egad, the Wizard of Ozarka is just one of many brands pumped out by Nestlé Waters North America.  Thus we have an Arkansas-sounding label coming from the Texas operations of a North American company based in Switzerland. Yodelayheehoo.

2014-04-15 Ozarka 1

Oh well, it’s just water, the commodity that’s increasingly never common.  Last time I checked, a liter of Evian was selling for $1.99 at the local Kroger.  A liter of Kroger’s store-brand water was 69 cents.  That’s a 188% premium for Evian. Some people take this brand thing way too seriously.  And the marketers smile.

Maybe it was just a bad run of their label-making press. Maybe it’s my inability to discern fifty shades of pink. Maybe I just don’t grasp the concept of subtlety in packaging.

I’m having a hard time reading the label on this bottle of Aquafina Flavor Splash Sparkling Berry Loco Four Berry Blend Flavor, a product of Pepsico under its popular Aquafina bottled water brand.

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I like the beverage, but I can’t read the label easily.  It doesn’t jump off the shelf at me.

In British slang, the word “bottle” means “courage” or “mettle,” as in “He’s a skilled footballer, but he lacks bottle.”  Pepsi had the bottle to design a pink-on-pink bottle, but I don’t think it scored a goal.

Stock photography in marketing communications: It’s pointless.  It’s awful.  It’s pointawfuless.

There’s an old saying in advertising agencies and other purveyors of promotion production:  “Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick any two.”

Pick Any Two

Stock photography is cheap and fast.  But it’s not always good.

???????

I bought this package of Kroger potato chips because they were half the price of the Lay’s brand. Results: They taste good.

Note how Kroger’s logo sits atop the ho-hum tagline, “From our family to yours.”  That’s the connection to the photo of the happy, romping family of four:  the family is running joyfully through tall, green grass to get those delicious potato chips at their nearest Kroger store.  I can almost see the thin thread connecting brand to imagery to product. Almost.

A bland photo on a package doesn’t add or subtract anything.  It’s just there.  An excuse to print in four-color process.

You might luck out and find a stock photo that’s exactly what you want. In that case, save the money and go with stock.  But remember that same photo might show up in other places.  You didn’t take that picture. You don’t own it.

I’ll be looking for the potato-chip family to pop up in a life insurance ad.

Yesterday on Slate.com, writer Matthew J.X. Malady went into great detail to tell us how uncomfortable the word “moist” makes many people feel.

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_good_word/2013/04/word_aversion_hate_moist_slacks_crevice_why_do_people_hate_words.single.html

In “Why Do We Hate Certain Words? The curious phenomenon of word aversion,” Malady defines word aversion as “seemingly pedestrian, inoffensive words driving some people up the wall.” He explains that it is not the meaning of the word itself but the sound and sight of the word that make us averse to a word.  Ointment, crevice, fudge and navel also give many of us the creeps.

Back to moist.  Despite its being such a slimy word, the big three cake mix makers use moist as a key brand attribute. They’ve even turned moist into a sub-brand: Super Moist, Moist Deluxe, Moist Supreme.  Are we moist enough yet?  I can still sing the jingle from an old Duncan Hines spot : “So moist, so moistfully good, they’ll always come back for more.”  Moistfully?  It may have been slimy, but it stuck to my brain.

Do you think Betty, Duncan or the Pillsbury Doughboy will break ranks and dump moist in favor of something less offensive?

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ghk-duncan-hines-yellow-cake-mix-0410-s3-mdn1001029_051500700402_A_400 pillsbury moist

 

 

 

 

 

Last December the Huffington Post suggested five alternatives to moist: the Orwellian-Newspeaky “not dry,” along with “hydrated,” “good crumb,” “spongy,” and “divine.”  I don’t think we’ve hit the mark yet.  Let’s put that cake back in the oven and keep trying.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/hate-moist-word-alternatives_n_2259254.html