Packaging as a marketing tool

Australian Institute of Packaging

By Nerida Kelton MAIP Executive Director – Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP); Vice President – Save Food Packaging & Food Waste – World Packaging Organisation (WPO)
Tuesday, 20 July, 2021



Packaging as a marketing tool

Packs that stand out on-shelf in a sea of similar shapes and materials tend to be ‘different’ in some way. The pack might be visually a brighter colour, a different shape, an unusual size or calls for consumer engagement.

One such pack that caught my eye recently was the Monday haircare range from New Zealand. I must confess that I bought a set, even though I don’t use that shampoo brand, all because I loved the packaging. Other packs that have stood out to me lately are those that create consumer engagement and invite you to become a part of their story.

Looking at the broad range of finalists in the newly established Marketing Design of the Year category for the 2021 Australasian Packaging Innovation & Design (PIDA) Awards, there are some innovative examples of how packaging can become one of the strongest and most important tools for marketing a product and brand.

Packaging should be seen as an opportunity to create powerful and evoking messages with your consumers and to establish brand loyalty. This can incorporate the functionality of the pack, the aesthetic design and the outstanding visual appearance that makes the pack stand out on-shelf, the premium and gifting style design, and/or unique and interactive communication tools on the pack.

Two examples within the Marketing category finalists are Cutri Fruit ‘Galaxy’ peaches and the KitKat “Recycle me, give the planet a break” wrappers.

‘Out-of-this-world’ packaging for Saturn Peaches

When designing the Galaxy Fruits Saturn Peaches packaging for Cutri Fruit, N.A.V.I Co Global ventured into new territory and created an intuitive and interactive consumer-facing brand.

For over 40 years, Cutri has only supplied generic, unbranded produce to supermarkets and for the first time it decided to formally introduce its brand to consumers. Cutri wanted the packaging to provide a positive first impression that was unique and engaging for the customers, and also fit for purpose. It was looking for an ‘out-of-this-world’ offering for its uniquely shaped peaches and wanted the packaging to create a point of difference on-shelf.

The packaging uses bright colours and eye-catching graphics, including interactive elements to build an emotional connection and ultimately pique interest and awareness of this new variety.

Centred in the design is a window that highlights the flat, Saturn-like shape of the peaches. The window can also be used as a projection screen that can be re-used over and again.

Cutri wanted the interactive section to create activities for the children such as colouring-in and pop-outs to create collectibles and encourage repeat purchase.

Cutri Fruit Galaxy Fruits Saturn Peaches

The packaging created its own version of augmented reality with the mobile phone projector, bringing outer space into living rooms all over the country, and acting as a conduit for kids to learn about space, creativity and healthy eating.

A QR code is also incorporated on-pack for consumers to find out more about the Galaxy Fruits Saturn Peaches and the packaging itself also includes a variety of messages.

Shifting the recycling message to the front of pack

KitKat Recycle me, give the planet a break wrappers

According to a recent survey undertaken by Nestlé Australia, 80% of Australians show a strong desire to recycle correctly; however, almost 48% of the nation simply get it wrong and end up disposing of the packaging incorrectly.

To encourage and educate Australians to ‘give the planet a break’ by recycling their soft plastics correctly, KitKat has made the bold move to temporarily replace its logo on its four-finger milk chocolate bar with a call-out to recycle in-store.

The limited-edition bars feature a KitKat-inspired recycling symbol and an explicit call to action for everyone to actively drop off wrappers at REDcycle collection bins, located in most major Australian supermarkets.

What makes this pack stands out is that the design of the KitKat wrapper artwork completely removes the KitKat branding on the front of pack and replaces it with a Mobius loop, a symbol which consumers associate with recycling.

The use of the Mobius loop symbol takes up the front of pack, is eye-catching and delivers the message clearly to consumers about the importance of packaging that is recyclable.

The Mobius loop symbol is accompanied by the tagline “Recycle me, give the planet a break”, which is also a play on words on the “Have a break, have a KitKat” tagline. This ties the Nestlé KitKat brand with their sustainability message, which can have a long-lasting impact on the consumer.

The front-of-pack design also includes an arrow pointing towards a bin that has the message “In-store drop off”, which informs and educates the consumers on the method of recycling soft plastics. The ‘store drop off’ statement links to the Australasian Recycling Logo (ARL) instruction of going into a REDcycle participating retailers and dropping off soft plastic packaging in the collection bins.

In the past, packaging sustainability messaging has typically been placed on the side or back of the pack. The previous packaging artwork focused on the product or brand itself, and not on the recyclability of the packaging.

This new KitKat design enables packaging sustainability to be the primary element of the packaging artwork, without taking away the consumer’s ability to recognise the product. The core design elements of the KITKAT brand — the red colour, the iconic shape and the white oval background — are still maintained.

Next time you’re wandering down the aisles keep an eye out for packs that stand out on-shelf and invoke consumer engagement.

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