Color Brightens Up Private Label Packaging
Commentary by Carol Spieckerman, President, newmarketbuilders
Speaking at last
month’s Private Brand Movement conference, Michael Ellgass, Walmart’s director
of grocery marketing, acknowledged that customers thought that the initial
Great Value redesign went a bit too far into generic territory and, as a result,
Walmart has begun to add touches of color back into Great Value’s packaging.
is coming back, and Walmart is not alone in the effort.
Kmart’s new mantra, “colorful thinking,” says it all: The days of retail
whiteout are drawing to a close. Kmart is going for full saturation with its
redo of the Champion Breed pet line and both Family Dollar and Kmart are pushing
for more vibrancy with their respective launches of the Family Gourmet (formerly
Family Pantry) and Smart Sense lines. Mr. Ellgass revealed that ongoing iterations
of Great Value packaging will incorporate customer-appropriate props. (Based
on my store visits, think sensibly-plated food resting on not-too-fancy placemats
with fork to the side.) Packaging will also feature more close-in photography
that will make the food the “hero.” (I caught early sightings of
the color-prop-close-up formula at work on pizza boxes last week.)
At the conference,
McDonald’s senior director of global brand strategy, Matt Biespiel, also showed
off the ‘I-can-almost-taste-it photography’ that will become the new standard
as McDonald’s marches on with its “simple, easy,
enjoyment” rebranding. He too spoke of propping as the next big thing.
Ellgass is not saying the original Great Value redo didn’t yield real results:
87 percent of shoppers find it easier to spot the product on the shelf; 70
percent think it looks like a “true brand”; and 78 percent like it
so much that they’ve purchased more products post-primp. It’s a nice perception
jump from over a year ago when Andrea Thomas, who formerly headed up Walmart’s
private label program and is now senior vice president of sustainability, spoke
of the “disconnect” between
Great Value’s purchase rate and its brand awareness.
It turns out that Walmart’s
new quest for color isn’t just about store shelf navigation either — they’re
now thinking about how products look in shoppers’ pantries.
It stands to reason that if you’re buying more Great Value than ever, telling
your green beans from your garbanzos would become problematic as the sea of
white stacked up.
Color to the rescue. Sam’s VP of private brand, Maurice
Markey, spoke of how packaging is something that customers “interact” with
until the product is “depleted,” and McDonald’s Mr. Biespiel pointed
out that, since packaging for them is an after-purchase event, it serves an
important role of “reassurance” and
offers McDonald’s a great platform for story-telling.
Discussion Questions: How do you think color and imagery is transforming
private label packaging? Is standing out against the field of national brand
products the most important criteria? What’s the next step PL packaging needs