Anything But Typical


      by Greg Kishbaugh

     Packaging is often the first line of direct advertising to consumers. One of the many methods employed by converters to make their packaging stand out on shelves is the use of atypical designs. Recent research has shown that unusual packaging designs make consumers analyze product claims more closely. This is both good news and bad.
     Certainly, having consumers look more closely at a product is exactly what converters, and CPGs, most desire. But the added attention comes with a downside. The some research also suggests that in addition to the increased consumer engagement, atypical packages also made consumers more critical of the claims made on the packaging.

     The research broke claims into two areas: weak and strong. Strong claims included statements about flavor or quality control while weak claims included “new formula” and alternative product sizes. In atypical packaging, consumers responded well to strong claims but were pessimistic concerning weak claims.
     “We found that the persuasiveness of weak and strong product claims on the package was affected by whether the package design was typical or atypical,” wrote researchers from the Amsterdam School of Communication and VU University were the research was performed.
     “When packaging was atypical,” continued the researchers, “strong claims resulted in a higher quality judgment, but weak claims resulted in a lower willingness to pay — compared to when packaging was typical.”
     The researchers presented design variants of packaging to consumers as part of the research test. The atypical designs, it was found, caused participants to spend a much greater amount of time looking at the product, which improved their recall of product claims.

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