Living in the midst of the financial crisis we have become more discerning consumers and are continually looking for new ways to be excited through packaging and innovation whilst simultaneously being led by product claims , 'the science bit' has a lot to answer for. We look into the two sides of the story.
It is often said that in the time of a recession consumers like to revert to older, safer feelings of nostalgia, escaping the financial turmoil we've been living in and taking us away to somewhere warm and fuzzy instead.
And apothecary and Victoriana styling of packaging has been helping us do just that. Via products such as Noble Handcrafted tonics and syrups, Prospector Co.'s range of men's grooming products (including beard oil!), Aesop's on-going dedication to its visual brand language and through Italian breath mint company Amarelli's recent re-brand we can see a visual code that steps even further back than the fail-safe 1950's, veering more towards the late 1800's.
With straplines such as 'Daring cases in favour of science' (Aesop) and 'Noble handcrafted tonics' there is the fascinating element of the intriguing bumbling scientist via brown standard bottling, classic fonts and to-the-point labelling drawing us towards their claims.
After emerging in beauty and grooming products, this ethos is now starting to play out in confectionary, with opportunities lying in functional confectionary, and other FMCG areas.
The opposing side of the story plays out in the way pseudo-science continues to dominate in unisex and masculine personal care and beauty packaging.
Clinique's standout marketing uses transparent colour-hued liquids in a chemistry environment (conical flasks etc.) to allude to serious results from their products. More recent releases that are targeted at men by Malin+Goetz and Lab Series, to name just two examples, are semiotically playing into the more medical/scientific visual codes, stripping right back to white packaging, with minimal text and condensed product information, in turn reaffirming their performance potential.
Although the pseudo-science approach to packaging has been in the consumer mind set for the best part of this millennia, its more recent minimal approach leaves consumers really considering product contents, and their functional potential. Both types of packaging are effective, and a breath of fresh air amongst less-design focussed packaging that tends to get side tracked by shouting product claims rather than consumer lifestyle. Whether clinical or nostalgic, communicating the science of products reassures consumers and appeals to men too, opening up such products to a wider audience.