Friday, August 10, 2007

Brand Death

Product Packages Now Shout to Grab Your Fickle Attention - Consumer goods companies now use packages as ads, including frequent packaging changes, the addition of sound chips and other features. Tomorrow I will be reading a NY Times with headlines in TYPE LIKE THIS while drinking a Coke from a rectangular bottle. What's happening here, last week every business problem was presented as a branding issue. It reached the point where business jargon was becoming even more obscure than usual. How do the gurus of brand discipline explain the trend to new and ever shifting packaging? Of course some of it is functional, the tissue box that matches your decor, the gum dispenser that fits in your cup holder, the toilet paper that offers a choice of left or right handed. But there is more afoot than function. Is the consumer's attention span so short now that it's pointless to use packaging consistency as a branding tool? Some products just don't brand - pity the unwary Mountain Dew buyer duped by constantly changing packaging - "yech, now I remember, this is the stuff that reminded me of urine when it was in a clear bottle". Sound chips are still at the gimmick stage and a dangerous gimmick it is. A package of cheese that talks is just asking for trouble if it can't keep its yap shut in the 3AM danger zone - this will only confuse the crystal meth addled shopper. Imagine the scene from a convenience store:
"I go well with Triscuits"
"What the f...."
"I go well with Triscuits"
"Are you talking to me?"
"I go well with Triscuits"

And the ensuing morning news:
"Two clerks were wounded and a package of cheese severely mutilated in an unprovoked attack at a local 7-11 early this morning. Police were at a loss, noting only that robbery was not the motive as the assailant fled empty handed - banging his head shouting "Cheese Devil, Cheese Devil, Cheese Devil...."

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