Archive for April 2014

Semiotics 101: how packaging attracts by association

Anton Ego, food critic from Ratatouille (Disney Pixar film)

People have better things to do than think about your brand. Marketing’s job is to change that, but in an over-supplied and ultra-competitive world, this is a constant challenge. The answer lies in… semiotics. In simple terms (saving us all going back to college for 3 years), this means creating signals to trigger the right…

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The secret language of boxes

Several Whiskey Brands on a Supermarket Shelf

A box is a code in itself, in the case of expensive spirits for both protection and gifting. The two are not unrelated, because our brain has learned to associate protection with precious and valuable items. Shape, colour and proportion are hugely important signals here, and these combine to very different effects in this small…

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Alpine pristine

Place is a common metaphor in branding, because you can say a lot about a brand or product by simply stating where it comes from. Not only do places offer a rich source of imagery, they can also represent an attitude to life that people aspire to. The top of a snow-capped mountain is a…

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The power of lettres

Several Cider Brands on a Supermarket Shelf

Logos are not words, they are symbols. The combination of the word and its meaning, exactly how it is written, and how you choose to frame it, is usually the most powerful signal a brand can send. But why stop there? Too many packs consist of a tired formula: Logo, descriptor and product shot in…

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Divine taste?

One of food packaging’s most important jobs is to tempt the taste buds, but that doesn’t always mean showing us a saliva-inducing portrait of lunch. In fact the food shot means giving up a large amount of packaging real estate, so established brands rightly avoid it in favour of iconising the promise. For Philadelphia this…

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Medieval qualities

According to Wikipedia (a dangerous way to assert anything factual), there are only 10 beers in the world allowed to call themselves Trappist. Such a designation is subject to strict rules, like being brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, and not being created for profit. Two brands on this supermarket shelf qualify, but…

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Black power

Black pasta packs on shelf and Yoghurt container with black details

During a recent Private Label analysis I was impressed by the number of ways that the Tesco ‘finest’ brand has found to use the colour black. Hundreds of items in diverse categories throughout the store managed to declare their superior quality. In this way it’s easy for the shopper to identify the store’s premium offer,…

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Sensorial delicatessen

From Tesco’s black as slate to Stegeman’s black as a chalkboard. This one is extremely popular because it carries all kinds of associations, but mainly it’s about the look, smells and tastes of the delicatessen. I’m getting cured meats, artisan breads, cheese and delicious coffee just looking at the picture. An extra semiotic boost is…

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Take me to paradise

Ok the ‘paradise’ is a bit cartoon-like, but there’s no doubt that VitaCoco’s rapid rise to become the icon of a new healthy drink sector has a lot to do with its simple and iconic desert island scene, and the insight to go for a green coconut as its symbol (it’s fresher than the brown…

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Emotion by the bucket-load…

Ooh, hasn’t the yoghurt fixture got a lot more tempting lately? Suddenly everyone and his wife wants to indulge in thick, creamy Greek (or Greek-style, as my lawyers have advised me to say) yoghurts. Rachel’s has a full range of Greek Style just out of picture, but I’d like to focus on two newer arrivals…

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