An Arabian adventure

An arabian adventure

Riyadh skyline

Welcome to the new edition of Shelf Life, with more ‘stories that sell’ from the supermarket It’s always exciting to explore the shelves of a country that I’ve never visited before, because it gives me the chance to be surprised by the exotic and the familiar in equal measure. Saudi Arabia didn’t disappoint, with some…

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Well stocked

Despite first impressions this store doesn’t only cater to seven-foot tall customers, but has an innovative approach to merchandising with an extra couple of shelves and a full-length display card on top of those. Apparently it’s easier to restock from the shelves above than shuffling stock around on trolleys. The top two rows also provide…

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Think your box is big?

chips multipack boxes on shelf in Saudi Arabia

Just when I thought big boxes of cereals or detergent were the most standout items in the store, I was hit between the eyes by this re-interpretation of the chips multipack. Containing only 14 small bags of 30g, these must take the prize for simultaneously selling the largest volume of both ink and air. I’m…

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Yes, there is icing on the cake!

In the last blog I commented on the lost opportunity to capitalise on the trendiness of cupcakes by UK home-baking packaging. Cupcakes are also hot here in Saudi, but as you can see the retailers are getting a bit more behind the idea. Not sure Betty’s packaging is quite living up to the full potential of…

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Works both ways

Milk and dairy products in a supermarket in Arabia Saudi

Part of my challenge during this visit has been to work out how to design a logo in arabic lettering to match the emotional meaning of the ‘English’ one we will be creating. Most major brands seem to manage this reasonably well, normally using a two-sided pack with one language on each side. But some…

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Alcohol-free beer that rocks!

I suppose it’s obvious really, but until today it’s always puzzled me why no alcohol beer fails to look right, and doesn’t usually last very long in the market. No matter how hard designers try to make it look like the ‘real thing’, there’s always that 0% declaration threatening to spoil the party, like your…

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Strong animal name game

Energy drinks on shelf in Saudi Arabia

The adoption of animal properties of speed, grace or strength (or all three together) has always been a feature of branding, and this idea certainly seems to work for Red Bull. Most of its competitors seem happy to try to steal a bit of market share with very similar design language and a slightly different…

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Grains of truth?

With well over 20 brands available in this store, Saudi rice consumers (penetration: close to 100%) are not short of choices. Whilst these real sacks might stand out as incredibly natural and authentic on a European shelf, here they blur into one and feel quite cheap and generic. More premium offers use elaborate print techniques…

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Seal the deal

Maggi display on supermarket in Saudi Arabia

Remember when you could get this sort of off-shelf display in a European supermarket? This kind of real estate can’t be cheap, but it certainly makes an impression for this innovation (there was also a 15 metre floor ad in front of the meat counter). Even on the shelf the high gloss sachet seen through…

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Need to freshen up?

I was struck during my visit by the fact that tissue boxes are literally everywhere – in every car, on every table. Given this fact I was somewhat disappointed by the display qualities of the designs on shelf – seemingly accepting a commodity status rather then seeking to add value and innovation. Surely this is…

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