Putting elegant curves on your packaging doesn’t just make a bottle of hand soap look nice on the side of your sink. It also lets you drastically reduce the amount of product that you sell in a container that looks approximately the same size.
The Stupid Shipping Gang strikes again! Their visit to Cisco led to a lovely set of matryoshka wireless access points being shipped to an unsuspecting university in Oregon. Reader Eliot had the confusing experience of opening these packages, and took pictures of the process and the mind-boggling pile of waste it left behind.
If you always assumed striped toothpaste was the work of a magic devil, assume again. It turns out it’s the work of a little extended pipe inside the tube that merges the different colored substances onto the toothpaste highway and straight onto your brush. That mechanical trick is half a century old, however; modern varieties sometimes just come that way, as this frozen toothpaste photo that’s been around for a while demonstrates.
A new study published in the Journal of Public Health has found that people rate cigarettes in attractive packages as less deadly than others. Or, to put it another way, the study found that people who are asked to compare cigarettes based on their packages are inclined to prefer the smartly packaged ones:
A company called Help Remedies is offering basic drugs and first aid supplies with simple explanations. Sounds good, provided they remain focused on simple maladies.
Reader Steven bought some cheap fountain pens from Sam’s Club. Perhaps unaccustomed to such a small purchase, Sam’s Club had trouble finding the appropriate packaging.
CCM just sent us a photo she snapped of these Mission Soft Flour Tortillas. It’s kind of cool to see that in this age of the shrink ray, a company is actually giving you more bang for your buck. Except that in this case, the two added tortillas used to be there until a year or so ago.
UPS ruined this antique 1953 Willys Aero Wagon concept studio model by shipping it in three boxes taped together with packing peanuts and bubble wrap. UPS claims they can “pack almost anything,” and that their “certified packing experts” “specialize in fragile and high-value items, including antiques.” Whoops!
Reader Sean sent us what may not be the most egregious example of wasteful packaging, but in terms of the proportion of the item shipped to the size of the box it came in, it comes pretty close. Sean ordered a gear the size of a fingernail — literally — from Tower Hobbies.
Chad, who sent this in, says he tried to decipher this Kool Aid‘s expiration date using the cheat sheet we posted last December, but nothing on this container matches the code format on the sheet. It can’t be that hard to print an unambiguous human readable expiration date on a product. Who else needs to read the date, other than a human? Why should the average consumer have to worry about deciphering a date? We thought we’d all pretty much agreed on some basic rules for how to keep track of the days.
Is Amazon trying to kill off our “stupid shipping gang” tag? Alex wrote to us today to point out that now there’s a new “Packaging Feedback” link under your “My Account” page on their site. Among other things, you can leave feedback on the size of the box relative to what’s inside.
Forget all that spin about listening to customer complaints: it looks like the real reason Tropicana killed off its rebranding push after only two months is because sales dropped by 20% during that period, while some big competitors posted double-digit gains. We have a feeling Tropicana is going to end up in a lot of business and marketing textbooks in the future. [AdAge] (Thanks to Ross!)
The Super Stack can of Pringles on the right looks super big and super packed full of chips. It only has 12% more snack inside, though, while it costs 25% more of your money. Luckily, if you’re not handy with division or don’t have a calculator or phone with you, just look at the price per pound on the tags below. And never trust packaging!
One final Tropicana thing: this video clip from 5 weeks ago shows Peter Arnell explaining the thought process behind the Tropicana redesign. It’s a peek behind the curtains at how much thought goes into packaging, and how it’s designed to communicate to you subconsciously. [AdAge] (Thanks to wanda!)
The Tropicana redesign disaster seemed strangely familiar to us, and we just now realized why: the Simpsons already did it.
The New York Times says that “loyal” Tropicana customers are up in arms about the new packaging, calling it “ugly,” “generic” and claiming that it looks like a store brand. Others say that the packaging makes it difficult to distinguish between the different varieties of orange juice.
60 Minutes recently took a look at World Savings Bank, the acquisition that ultimately wounded Wachovia so badly that it had to be acquired by Wells Fargo. What was wrong with an institution for which Wachovia was willing to pay $25 billion? Well, one whistleblower claims that World Savings was engaged in fraud and predatory lending — tricking its customers into signing up for dangerous “option-arm” or (as they cheerfully called them) “pick-a-payment” loans.