Packaging Mind Control

I'd like to take a minute.. so sit right there, and I'll tell you how I became.. obsessed with packaging. No one can EVER resist the Fresh Prince. And you're lying to yourself if you didn't sing it.

So, packaging is a thing. It's a real big thing. Such a thing, in fact, that it can influence buying and generate trillions, possibly even billions (pinky to mouth), of dollars. It's a very big, very real, and very cool thing.

I want you to take a moment and think about your average grocery shopping trip. You put together your list of essentials and head to the store. As you're automatically grabbing for your loyally-used shampoo and your Dunkin' Donuts Hazelnut Coffee, you see something scribbled in different handwriting. You quickly realize your adult boyfriend has added juice boxes to your list, because, well, boyfriends..

After your roll your eyes, you head to the juice box aisle. Your eyes pass over the generics, a few unknowns, and some name brands, all in their classic, cardboardy containers, when suddenly, your eyes are drawn to something flashy!

"Well, these are adorable," you think to yourself. You hadn't planned on buying any, and even if it tastes like 2005 Propel crap, it at least looks cute. And, BAM!, that's how they get you. With no intention of buying juice, you settle for the cool looking beverage.

Or, this is how I work at least.

I love wine. And you might say I'm ambidextrous because I love both red and white. I have my go-to-twist-off Cab, second shelf from the bottom that I grab when I'm in a hurry. But if I'm gifting or taking my time, you better believe the more well-designed label is going to win. I, like many Americans, buy products based on packaging. 

Here are a few other neat ones.

Something as simple as beautiful shipping envelopes make things look more professional or cared-for. And it can influence your dollars, as well as your mindset. A great example; Apple products.

Macintosh is smart. Apple products, on the spectrum of all types of comparable technology, are behind. By no means are they pioneering much. There are other brands of phones that are waterproof. Apple iWatch was one of the last to be produced. Those Microsoft tablets do way more, have more programs, and run better than any iPad could ever dream of.


Apple things look so cool, don't they? They're sleek and slim and their programs all match and.. I could go on. Apple outsells because of this. Not to mention that beautiful, clean, white box that so delicately cradles it. With metallic printed letters practically burning "iPhone" into your hands from sheer, silvery excitement. 

I'm telling you, even if you don't realize it, packaging is affecting all of us. That champagne bottle for HiccUP would be a clear winner and conversation piece for any party, and you know it. 

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with someone about generic branding. They mentioned that Wal*Mart had a missed opportunity because their Great Value brands were all so plain.

You know the sort.

You know the sort.

"Why couldn't they add more to their packaging to make it fancier?" I was asked. They know exactly what they're doing. When polled, Americans believed Target to be a better brand for quality against Wal*Mart across the board. In the same polling structure, Wal*Mart is believed to be a lower-cost brand than Target. Spoiler: when it comes to groceries, they're practically the same.

Wal*Mart has this image because of their Great Value brand. The negative space, simple type, and photo give the image of cheap packaging, therefore, causing your brain to think it's cheaper, right? Wrong. And to think, you've been fooled all a long! 

So, what can we take from this? Even if you're making purchases because that bottle of gin looks badass, or that mac and cheese is enveloped in the cheapest-looking box, the packaging, the design, and the marketing are already making that decision for you. 

Kinda scary, huh? You're welcome.