In a recent business discussion, we encountered the phrase: “the poverty of American packaged goods art” – so obviously true that nobody in the group commented, much less objected. New products folk don’t talk about it much, but the soft drink, beer, snack, bread, and prepared foods packages that define our craft (think Coke and Pepsi and Bud and Wheat Thins and Campbell’s) are as visually exciting as smog.
America may be the 900 pound gorilla of packaged goods, but compared to the visual imagination of such contemporary products as iPhone tiles, bicycles, and online games), it looks like the packaged goods gorilla lost interest 20 years ago.
A problem? Only if you assume some hot young marketing team in (for example) Baltic Europe will notice our lethargy and convince management to launch in your category here. Might be a while. Then again, might not.
Forgive the cliché, but we see it as an opportunity. If you think about it, all cans of Pepsi or all boxes of Wheat Thins don’t have to be the same. Without diminishing the brand (which, to a generation that explores the world as text on a screen is a word rather than the PMS color of the paperboard box), the package can be startling, stimulating…different!
Would young consumers buy a 12-pack of beer or a box of crackers because the package art changes? Not if the change were merely color or typeface or (spew!) a New New New banner. But brilliant illustration – art for art’s sake – maybe so.
These snippets of art that would grab the consumer by the frontal lobes are clipped from images on what has been called “the richest source of book-related illustration in the universe”. It’s a website that contains thousands of illustrations – and every one of them is more interesting than anything your design team has ever proposed.
The site’s had several names over the years, but is now 50 Watts.