Winning with packaging

Two weeks ago, our Senior Strategist Clare went to a talk hosted by advertising legend, Dave Trott, which has left her with an important question.

‘Why, as an industry, have we all become so scared of not being liked?’

A question most of us would rather run screaming from than stand up and answer.

When any kind of impact is sacrificed in favour of fitting in with what everyone else is doing, we end up not being noticed in a sea of sameness, and join the 89% of advertising that isn’t remembered.

I came out of his talk thinking I’d rather be a part of the 7% negatively remembered, as at least I’d have provoked some kind of reaction.

Why? I came to this industry inspired by the rule breakers, troublemakers and game-changers.

I felt inspired by campaigns like these:

WESTERN UNION

On a €5k budget, Western Union hi-jacked every photo and video moment during the Champions League match between Real Madrid and Steaua Bucharest.

Based on the insight that Romanians would feel like kings during the game, Western Union handed out branded crowns in national colours to celebrate and become a part of this very special night.

NIKE FOOTBALL

Their 1998 iconic airport advert felt more like a film than a commercial. Bringing with it humour, personality and realness.

It was easily the most anticipated highlight of any night watching TV.

ABSOLUT VODKA

Absolut Vodka continue to reimagine their brand through art, creating collectable pieces that exist outside of the bar.

PERSIL

Rather than compete with Aerial on minute differences in efficiency and whiteness, and to provide value over own-label brands, Persil injected real emotion into the laundry category with a platform that focused on the real benefit behind their product – enjoying life without worrying about getting dirty.


UNITED COLORS OF BENETTON

United Colors of Benetton cut through the noise with campaigns that made people stand up and take note, by promoting a sense of unity and togetherness.

These are brands who weren’t afraid to challenge what had gone before them, repositioning the category with a provocative question and hijacking market leaders.

In short, ‘zigging, while everyone else zagged’.

Whatever their ambition, they went for it. And were welcomed with open arms by the people who bought their product, but probably not by everyone.

Doing what you’ve done before, following the latest fad, or adhering to category conventions might feel safe in a quest to be liked, but can actually do more harm than good.

In doing the “done” thing, you're ultimately putting significant weight into elevating that market leader, rather than yourself.

Therefore, it’s commercially safer to identify what makes you different to get noticed.

As Dave Trott says, “to be noticed, we need to make impact".

Which is true. If we’re not making impact, what we say, when we say it and which channel we use, is irrelevant.

"Shit that arrives at the speed of light, is still shit". A famous saying coined by David Abbott.

At LOVE, we see one way to make impact using an unlikely hero.

Packaging.

In a world where ads and brand comms are blocked, skipped or ignored, packaging provides prime media space for brands to engage with and share their unique POV.

In ways so interesting, people photograph it...

Photo: Glossier, by Collection of Vials
Photo: Glossier, by Collection of Vials

...proudly display it in their homes...

...share it with friends...

Image: @chel_be_well
Image: @chel_be_well

...or even re-purpose it as something else.

At LOVE, we know the more your packaging stands out, the more you will get noticed.

Photo: Limited-edition packaging for SK-II, designed by LOVE
Photo: Limited-edition packaging for SK-II, designed by LOVE

The more your packaging talks to your audience, the more likely they are to share it with their friends.

Photo: @cellularmango
Photo: @cellularmango

The more your packaging does, the more likely it is to be bought again.

Photo: GTI Industries
Photo: GTI Industries

The more your packaging borrows from popular culture, the more impact it’ll have today, and tomorrow.

Photo: Limited-edition packaging for Johnnie Walker Black Label, designed by LOVE.
Photo: Limited-edition packaging for Johnnie Walker Black Label, designed by LOVE.

Thinking about packaging in this way will get your brand into the hearts and minds of the people you’re selling to.

They’ll start to talk about you, remember you, love you, buy you, and buy you again.

And your packaging? Well that becomes the most effective media spend of all.

As Dave Trott says, we all need to be a bit more like Henry VIII. In line with popular belief, he created one of the most recognised, recalled and loved pieces of content in history -Greensleeves.

Everyone knows, sings along to, and acts upon hearing the familiar sound of an ice cream van…

Henry VIII did this by making something different that got into the hearts and minds of his people. Creating impact and still getting noticed 500+ years on.

Doing work as effective as that, well that’s the sort of industry I want to be a part of.