I Hate Packaging

JoAnn Hines

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It's that time again (the holidays) when packaging will be getting top media coverage by its detractors. Those would be the people looking to complain about product packaging because it’s too difficult to open or there is too much of it or they think it doesn't do its job properly. I always read a slew of articles on how many people were injured or had to go to the hospital trying to open a package. Raps on the packaging industry appear in the news all year but with the holiday and all the gifts giving it’s a natural topic to get additional publicity. Just check out my website www.PackagingUniversity.com to read a few of the most infamous cases. Learn about the other side of the story: The role packaging has to play (the good side).

Consumer Reports just put its annual call out for the “Oyster Awards" given to the worst packages out there. You can bet consumers are lining up to rant about various problems with packaging and how packaging is the bane of the public.

Yes, I know there are problems with packages that can't be easily opened. Specialized tools have been created to make this problem easier. I had a recent experience with my husband’s new electric razor which elicited a few choice words while I was trying to get it out of the plastic clamshell. But boy did it look pretty on the shelf. I could see the entire product and the nifty freebie gizmo that came along with it. I was very intrigued to finally get the product out (without mishap I might add). Even I was surprised when I finally got inside the package to see all the interworkings that went into packaging this product. It was really great package design at its best.

It is amazing how much thought and innovation went into the design itself. It sat upright and was very well positioned on the shelf among its competitive offerings. The product was clearly visible had some great marketing graphics which caught my eye. The package was composed of numerous types of packaging materials that were well integrated into the complete unit.

Why did I buy it? The package made me do it, of course, and the fact that my husband broke his old razor so I got to play consumer for a product that I wouldn't normally purchase. It was a reason to experience the process. But the packaging did its job too. It persuaded me to buy that particular product knowing the heartache I would experience to get inside.

Despite what all of the critics have to say, packaging is integral to the successful sale of a product. It has to get it to the shelf, but that's only the beginning. It has to protect, secure and display the product too. It has to convince you to make the purchase. That would be the reason that you just can't live without it.

I'm reading all these rants about excess packaging at the supermarket. Calls to strip away product packaging and leave it at the store. These are the first people that will be complaining if the fruit is bruised or the lettuce is not fresh and even scarier when there is some sort of health threat due to contamination. Have you seen how many food recalls there have been lately? Just think how much more there would be if packaging wasn't doing its job.

Too few of us really understand the role packaging has to play in modern society. Many problems that packaging resolves are taken for granted and only get exposed when it turns into a problem. Look at Tylenol. That poisoning incident changed an industry forever and evolved an entire new packaging category of product security and integrity. This could happen again anywhere in the world. The packaging of food products is 70% of the industry and it is sorely in need of scrutiny for product integrity and security.

So this holiday season think about why products are packaged the way they are. Be on the lookout for cynics and people who give a bad wrap to packaging. Be sure and take the time to explain to them the role packaging has to play. Don't let anyone get away with saying “I hate packaging" without helping them to clearly understanding where would we be without it.

Don't wait until it’s too late. Make packaging your first thought-not your last.

All things packaging - If you are seeking packaging, packaging assistance, packaging help, packaging expertise, packaging consultants, packaging designers or requests for packaging proposals, I can help you with your packaging questions, issues and problems. I will find your packaging solution. Email me at PackagingDiva@aol.com or visit www.packaginguniversity.com


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