The other day I got a text message from my wife which included a picture of something she took while at our kids’ school. What I thought was one thing turned out to be something completely different entirely and made me want to openly question the motives behind brand packaging design.
Before I show you the picture in question, I want to ask marketers and brand managers out there: When designing a package label for a new product, do you include any kind of moral compass into the equation? Do you take into consideration that your product will be seen by millions (hopefully for your sake) of people of ALL ages?
Ok, you’re on your honor here to not read ahead, but look at these two pictures below quickly - the one on the left is the one my wife sent me & the one on the right is via Google Images – then look away and I want you to think about the first thing that comes into your mind re: what this product is for… ready? Remember, look quickly, look away and think about what comes to mind in terms of product, then come back to the post.
Ok, so what did you think this product is for? (be honest)
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A. Kids Juice
B. Juice in general, either kids or adult
D: Hair Care
E: Cleaning supplies
The correct answer is E. These are part of a line of cleaning supplies with the name Fabuloso attached to it to imply, I assume, these will leave your house looking and smelling fabulous – which I am sure they do. I’m sure these are fine products however my issue is not with the products themselves, but with the packaging and labeling of the package itself.
Now, obviously these (the pictures) are NOT life size and I am quite certain these all contain the “Keep Out Of the Reach Children” edict on them, or something to that effect but… we all know that children – young children, are naturally curious and we also know that despite best laid plans, parents cannot be everywhere at all times. My point is what would say a 2 or 3 year old think if they came across one of these bottles?
Sex Sells, Stupid…
Of course I know the age old adage of “sex sells” when it comes to advertising and branding, and while this is not the prototypical definition, these products are “sexy” in their own way, what with their bright colors, fun fonts and overall enticing packaging, are they not? They are, if nothing else, eye-catching, which of course is the whole idea, right? A consumer walking down Aisle 12 comes across these shiny bottles and they immediately draw them in.
But is there an obligation from the brand from a packaging and design perspective and brand marketer to design their packaging in a more conscientious and moralistic manner?
Or am I just being Nancy Naive here in openly questioning whether a brand should think this way? I mean they’re in business to make money and if creating an enticing package helps them move product, more power to them. It’s the parent’s responsibility anyway to keep this and ALL types of these products away from their children, right?
What do you think of all this?
Where do you think, if at all, the line is for a given brand and a responsibility in terms of packaging design?
Very curious to hear your thoughts…