Do Brands Have a Responsibility When It Comes to Packaging?
Last year I wrote a story about The Most Misleading Packaging Design I Have Ever Seen. The inspiration for my article came from a text message my wife had sent me while at our kids' school.
The text message include a picture and, as I wrote originally "What I thought was one thing turned out to be something completely different entirely and made me want to openly question the motives behind brand packaging design."
Just as I did in my original piece I want to show you side by side images of both the image that was texted to me as well as images culled from Google Images. The one on the left is the one my wife sent me & the one on the right is via Google Images.
I want you to think about the first thing that comes into your mind re: what this product is for then quickly look away and think about what comes to mind in terms of product, then come back to the post.
A. Kids Juice
B. Juice in general, either kids or adult
D: Hair Care
E: Cleaning supplies
The correct answer is E. These are part of a line of cleaning supplies with the name Fabuloso attached to it to imply, I assume, these will leave your house looking and smelling fabulous – which I am sure they do. I’m sure these are fine products however my issue is not with the products themselves, but with the packaging and labeling of the package itself.
Now obviously these are not life sized and I am sure there is a disclaimer on the packaging re: the dangers and kids and all that good stuff but… we all know that children – young children, are naturally curious and we also know that despite best laid plans, parents cannot be everywhere at all times. My point is what would say a 2 or 3 year old think if they came across one of these bottles?
I am still, one year later, amazed at this packaging. Amazed by how totally misleading it is and how it can so be easily misinterpreted.
I wanted to get an expert's opinion on this to see if it was just me and if he thought brands do or do not have a responsibility when it comes packaging.
So I reached out to branding and package design expert David Brier who has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world.
In regards to Fabuloso, Brier describes it as "very unusual solution to package an item such 'cleaning supplies' as soda." He even went so far as to say he thought the big one was root beer designed to appeal to the “super sizing of America” demographic while the the thinner more colorful ones looked like bubble gum flavors designed to appeal to younger consumer.
I actually never thought of it like that but he's spot on. The big bottle does remind me of root beer and conjures up thoughts re: the “super sizing of America” demo. Again as I mentioned the images above are of course not life sized so keep that in mind but the fact remains, at least to me, that they do indeed look like soda or some kind of children's drink.
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading global provider of on-demand email and cross-channel marketing solutions, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing. He can be reached via