Packaging creates choice. It dresses what could be identically looking and tasting products into differentiated brands. It attracts glances and (hopefully) incites purchases. Ever since the first signs of branding appeared on packages back in 1800’s, the format has been a primary marketing tool, tasked with the same challenges that marketers face today: benefit claims, promotional offerings, catchy slogans, noticeable looks.
At the height of Madison Ave.’s best years, one was surrounded by “big ideas”– at the least "big" for their time, but nonetheless ideas, slogans and brand mascots that were at the foundation of the strongest, most recognisable brands still today. Shocking, daring, clever, cheeky: it was all there, and everything was fresh and never seen before.
Now, the world is different. There is hardly such thing as a new idea, leave alone a BIG new idea. If there are big ideas left, they are seldom at the sore; if at all, you are more likely to find them in a digital, hashtag, viral, social, you name it, type of form. And that is ok. It is understandable – we, the customers are different, we need novelty and excitement. As big ideas seem obsolete once we see them once or twice, it is even more important for packaging to be able to extend an enhanced brand experience throughout the entire retail setting and beyond.
Still valid is that most moments of brand interaction still happen on the retail floor. It is thus more important than ever that primary brand impressions are created cleverly and purposefully where purchasing takes place. There is no such thing as some products being more exciting than others – simply, there are big ideas and there are no ideas at all. A clever approach can create just as much buzz about an energy drink as it can about a toaster.
Philips and Ogilvy & Mather Singapore show exactly how that’s done. With a brilliant campaign they sought to promote their new oil-less air fryer. Now, a kitchen appliance is not on most people’s lists of products to think or “talk about”. In a sense, the most probable scenario is that one thinks about buying a new fryer when the old breaks. If that is not the case, marketing is needed to do exactly what it is supposed to do best: to create a need. For this, a BIG idea is needed.
This is exactly what Philips and company have done last year by launching a new "product" called Air-Oil and branded it as proper FMCG product. Air-Oil was an empty branded plastic bottle, distributed in retail and placed next to regular cooking oils. Chances are when you see a bottle full of air, you will get the point and head to the appliance section to check out what is this AirFryer is all about. Clever indeed.
Consumer associations created? Check. Consideration set entered? Check. Word of mouth instigated? Check. A great idea, capturing a rare opportunity to link contextually two retail spaces in one fell swoop.
This example comes to show one thing: we must continue to think big, but we should also think dynamic. We should be more flexible and show creativity that reaches beyond the face of the pack or the brand tag line. Customers will reward us for it.