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Archive for August 2012

Packaging for kids

Cream cheese tubes packaging

Welcome to Shelf Life Issue 9, devoted to the crazy, colourful, Looney‐Tuned world of packaging for kids. Given that we’re in the supermarket it’s usually packaging for the mums and dads of kids, who have to decode and decide whether this brand or product is something that is suitable for my beloved offspring. That’s where…

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Entry level – draw a face

Anyone who’s ever fed a baby knows that it’s not as straightforward as it should be. Despite the fact that the little cutie is clearly hungry, and the meal you’ve prepared (or possibly just heated up) tastes fine to you, success is far from assured. As a result we engage in elaborate feeding games in…

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Bring on the mascot

Cereal bars for kids on shelf

Back in the days when all brands were made on TV and the biggest ones would be seen almost daily, it was possible to invest in some well-drawn characters and give them a bit of a story. A pretty simple story admittedly, in which their only activity was demonstrating the play value of the product…

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Draw a face (2)

Chocolate Yoghurt at a French supermarket

Without going into how ‘sensation transference’ makes packaging a powerful communication medium (but do ask me about the seminar), it means that it’s OK to draw a face on the packaging (instead of the product, or its ingredients). Consumers don’t consciously separate products from packaging so it amounts to the same thing. Kids (even when…

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Back story for hire

Cookies for kids on shelf in France

For many food manufacturers it’s a bit of a stretch to go beyond the ‘draw a face’ strategy because that means investing some serious time, effort and money developing your character to become ‘interesting’. Truly interesting for kids means a character with, well, character. What is their personality? Where do they live? What do they…

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Stick on a famous face

Fruit juice carton packages on shelf

This is by far the commonest way that expensive licenses are used in packaging design. It’s the equivalent of the ‘draw a face on it’ strategy in terms of effort and imagination, but of course you get better faces. The hope here is that Kids and parents are happy to consume a product just because…

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Rip their heads off and suck their guts out

As kids grow older they master the skills that prepare them (eventually) for adult life. It’s a long series of stages that starts with walking and talking and ends (if they’re lucky) with the ability to charm their way into a well-paid job. But many years before charm is needed, Kids like to be able…

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Best of both worlds (2)

Yoplait drinkable yoghurt

Another Yoplait brand here, and it’s easy to see that beneath the format difference we have an identical strategy to that described above: French kids may not yet be ready to ‘suck their guts out’, but the bottle character of P’tit YOP performs a similar function to his British cousins the Frubes. Cleverly shot commercials make it…

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No more mister nice guy

Around the age of seven to eight a major neurological development takes place in the brains of children, and a new way of understanding the world is born: Nuance. After this point kids realise that the world is more complex than good or bad, right or wrong, and they see that people can say one…

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What are ogres like?

Shrek 3D carton shaped selling onions

Well as nearly everyone on the planet knows from the first Shrek movie: “Ogres are like onions. We have layers…” This could be the motto for all older children’s hero characters, because it’s having layers that creates a truly complete character, with massive appeal across the age spectrum, including adults. This, along with major advances…

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