It’s both a maddening and exciting idea (depending which side of the fence you’re sat on) that a poor product can become successful with the right packaging while a quality product can flop completely if its packaging misses the mark. But, either way, it is a reality…
When I worked in a record store, I would handle thousands of CD and DVD cases every single day. Some stuck in your mind. Most didn’t. The ones which did, I’d later recall, not because of the artist, movie or song usually, but their innovative or attractive packaging and I was surprised at how much I learned about the level of influence packaging had over customers’ choices. Growing up in a generation in which almost every English house had an internet ready computer, I figured people would be conscious of many of the techniques used and attempts commonly made to persuade them to buy a product, and if that they would resist them.
Instead, I discovered a new culture; as people became more aware of marketing techniques, packaging simply became fashionable. Consumers as well as companies began studying-up, turning to books like Really Good Packages Explained: Top Design Professionals Critique 300 Designs & Explain What Makes Them Work. Packaging, in return, would evolve to exploit their target customer’s awareness, where previously they may have exploited their ignorance. So, the shape of packaging or particular copy used would seem like it was meant as a private joke between itself and the customer. What’s more, customers began buying products to show recognition for particularly clever packaging or to actually own the packaging, not the product, and ‘creative packaging’ began to feature in conversation amongst friends and in ‘top ten’ list on blogs and in newspapers.
Hence, more and more, artists and businesses are wisely enlisting the services of creative packaging companies. Movie makers at every level too are relying on companies such as Key Production, to provide them with bespoke DVD packaging. And it works. When the first ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ movie was released, I had planned to download the soundtrack. Then I saw the three CDs unfold before me, the sleek frosted slip case, artwork and full colour booklet…and even I had to admit, ‘giving in’, never felt so good.