Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Impact of Packaging

This weekend I opened a new package of Dryel. For any thrifty person, Dryel is a must. I routinely dry clean my clothes in my own dryer with Dryel a couple of times before I take them to the commercial cleaner, saving hundreds of dollars.

There has been a definite evolution in this relatively new product. Their first bags had Velcro closings, often opening in the middle of a cleaning. Some items invariably came out. Now the bag is made not only with a zipper, but of more substantial material.

But it's the little bottle inserted in all packages that has me fascinated from a packaging and consumer expectation standpoint.

First off, I have used what was first described as "stain remover" and now labeled "cleaning booster" very little. This is evident as I have one brand new (not used yet), one sort of old (never used) and one really old bottle (half-used) in my cleaning closet. At least Dryel got smart enough to stop enclosing an "absorbent pad" and now directs the user to place the item to be cleaned on a paper towel moistened with the product. However, I wonder if they have done any studies to see if anyone really uses this cleaning booster. I certainly don't.

Secondly, as I noted how significantly the l
abel design had changed, I wondered why Procter & Gamble would make such significant moves. I was fortunate to find the very re-designer's motivation and process:

  1. The package was old. Period. And redesigning your packaging often shows your consumers that you're still interested and invested in your product.
  2. The Dryel home dry cleaning system was going to be "new and improved" and the packaging needed to convey that message. Both verbally (in copy) and aesthetically.
  3. Lower cost products had entered the market (where I believe Dryel was more or less alone before) and Dryel needed to combat this new competition.

Coho (the design company) went through the usual steps -- research, assess, strategize -- and saw an opportunity to modernize and brighten the packaging, clean up the visual clutter, and develop a clear hierarchy of communication (features, benefits, etc.). We created several options, ranging from "close in" to "far out," and presented them to the Dryel team.

Wow! Sometimes I wish that I were gifted with visual creativity and could have such a job! It's got to be a lucrative field -- if successful.

A recent Tropicana decision was NOT successful which cost them $35 million in 2009. I have to admit that the re-done version is more appealing.

Hmm, in checking out other packaging, it looks like Kraft tried the modern, clean look in 2010; but what I have in my refrigerator today (picture, right) in 2012 looks a little retro. Maybe as we re-develop the old-fashioned habits of saving and thriftiness, marketers are now finding that they can promote old-fashioned "comfort food in a bag"?

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