Sep 11, 2014

Two ways packaging deals with noisy neighbours

Here at the confectionery aisle there’s no shortage of tempting products and bright colours to catch your eye.

And that’s part of the problem – sometimes all that colour just becomes a blur and nothing stands out.

But not in this example: Cadbury’s Marvellous Mix-Ups is an extension of its highly successful Marvellous Creations chocolate bars, the brand that managed to out-Wonka Willy*.
This packaging keeps the ‘Circus’ typography of the original, a crucial metaphor for anticipation, excitement and fun.

Cadbury’s trademark purple shows why it’s a much prized and fought-over asset, allowing instant recognition and providing a frame for the product offering.

And what an offering! A scrummy cornucopia of contrasting textures, colours and tastes, performing together in a natural spotlight, provided by those stripes.

But despite my admiration for this pack I actually bought the bag below.

Choc+ is using another way to get my attention – very few (but noticeable) colours and a window to the product. This introduces a whole new set of codes for confectionery, and in doing so it’s part of a much wider trend.

I call this design strategy ‘real crafty’ (in the honest sense of that word), and it’s all about avoiding hyperbole.

Hyperbole has been the language of most brands for most of the time they’ve existed, but now everywhere you look, the same challenge is being presented.

From beer to coffee, spirits to yoghurt, even cosmetics and (gasp!) food styling, every brand wants to present a crafted, subtle and authentic feel.

As long as we all remember that authentic means being yourself, not what you think others want, it’ll all work out fine.

(*For an excellent analysis of this marketing masterclass, go here)