In the very early days packaging was limited to hollowing out a gourd, and the drying or salting of meats and fish to preserve them but not today.

The package goes much further than protection, labelling and keeping food fresh. Nowadays packaging must do much more, it must attract and then persuade a consumer to buy. We are much more sophisticated consumers and packagers as a result.

In 2005, The Wall Street Journal published a report on Proctor & Gamble's concept of the First Moment of Truth (FMOT), where they purported that shoppers make up their mind about a product in the first 3-7 seconds of browing them.

So despite the fact that shoppers may plan in advance, cut out coupons and make extensive lists-75% of consumer sales are impulse sales-made at the shelf level.Rather than using the normal logic, often it can become quite an emotional buy.

Many studies suggest that around two-thirds of purchasing takes place in "default" mode, where the shopper gives little serious consideration to choosing between brands. This is often because shoppers already know which brand they want to buy before they walk into the store. Here "findability" is key. Any difficulties encountered by a shopper when trying to find the brand they want may open them up to other potential choices. Brands that are immediately identifiable are hugely powerful in ensuring the "default" shopper carries through with the purchase. As shoppers become more time pressured, more brand savvy and are faced with more choice, it will become increasingly difficult to break them from this "default" shopping mode. The good news is that 100% of your buyers can see the package. So that makes packaging one of the most visible and accessed forms of communication out there. No other form of marketing can claim that impact.

So packaging has a tall order to fill these days.


With so much competition in the retail sector a brand must break through the visual clutter and grab a shoppers's attention. A beautifully designed pack may be lost once displayed on a shelf alongside its competitors. Consideration should be given to how the packaging works in quantity. For example, in the U.K., tea brand PG Tips has a leaf pattern across its pack and when the packs are displayed in a row, the leaves become a continous banner.

As one of the final triggers that can attract and persuade a consumer to buy a brand, packaging is a key part of the marketing mix. Although huge sums are spent assessing advertising effectiveness, for many, pack testing is often an after-thought and a missed oppurtunity to drive sales.

So remember not all shoppers are alike, therefor different packaging designs are needed to reach different shoppers.

"The consumer isn't a moron.
She is your wife."
D.Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man, 1971,New York: Ballantine, p. 84..

Although perhaps a sexist remark these days, this quote still has validity. Always remember you are not marketing to robots but people with basic needs.

They want us to solve their problems (not create new ones). They want the basics like; food, clothing, shelter, protection from the elements, and time to spend with family or companions.

When broken down this simply, it seems like pretty basic stuff. Surprising how hard it is to connect with them. Start by creating a well planned, impactful package!