Christmas is just around the corner and supermarket shelves are inevitably turning shades of red and green as brands switch to seasonal packaging. It seems like only yesterday we said goodbye to the vibrant orange packaging of Halloween.
It might make for an eye-catching supermarket aisle but do consumers really want special seasonal packaging? Does your brand really need it? And what happens if you get your numbers wrong and your product doesn’t fly off the shelf like Rudolph?
Seasonal packaging can deliver brilliant returns for some brands, while for others it may be a waste of time, resources and money.
Before we look at the pros and cons, here’s another look at how to be innovative with packaging….
Now, to work out whether seasonal packaging is right for you, here are the pros and cons to weigh up:
PRO: Boost sales with seasonal excitement
Many kids love the fun of Halloween, and it seems to be an increasingly popular celebration in Australia. Last year Woolworths reported that Halloween-themed produce sales are increasing year on year. So it’s little wonder that brands are turning to Halloween-themed packaging to cater for the increasing demand.
To swallow more of the market, in 2015 Coca-Cola launched Fanta’s Tastes like Halloween brand campaign. Along with a strong in-store presence, there was “Spookalicious” packaging on selected Fanta Orange and Fanta Lemon Lift packs. The goal was to ensure consumers associated Fanta with the occasion and made it the Halloween party beverage of choice.
The key here is to build fanfare around your special-edition packaging and then create a story around the product that builds on your brand. Mars is brilliant at this with its M&Ms, leveraging the much-loved characters and placing them into seasonal situations.
PRO: Test new concepts
Seasonal or holiday packaging is a cost-effective way to test new concepts. Christmas especially is a time to do something a little bit special: how far you can stretch the consumer’s imagination and brand engagement? By bringing something new to your range, in association with a relevant festive event, you can draw in new customers and boost your bottom line.
You might even want to change your actual product slightly with a flavour twist for the season. For example, Chobani launched a new limited edition Pumpkin Pie flavour for Halloween. However, ensure your other products remain on the shelf so there’s no risk of upsetting loyal customers.
CON: Unsold product
Festive holiday events only occur once a year, so if you overestimate the demand for your seasonal packaging, you can be left with unsold stock, and your product will be relegated to the discount corner where it will attract the negative brand associations of a failed, unwanted product. On top of that, the company will suffer the resultant drop in profits.
There are lots of ways to avoid this. Toblerone uses a seasonal-themed sleeve to cover up the normal packaging when it comes to Father’s Day or Christmas. That way, it’s the sleeves that are wasted, not the product. Another way to reduce unsold stock is to ensure there’s no expiry date to your packaging. For example, you might use “summer” as a theme, rather than focusing on the one-day Christmas event. This is ideal for beverage products, which can be packaged up as “summer” drinks packs.
PRO: Boost brand integrity
Sometimes it’s important to put your brand in the moment and show a different side to the brand’s personality — but without leaving any important brand values at the door. Smart packaging, rather than lazy or inept designs, can tip consumers in your direction. Rather than slapping a snowman or reindeer onto their packs, brands that use clever insights and wit to catch consumers’ attention will not only add a seasonal sales increase but also boost the brand’s integrity in the long term.
For example, Toblerone once replaced the brand name with ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ on its pack, adding seasonal flair without losing brand recognition. Simple, yet effective: it increased yearly sales by 400% when it was first printed in 2006.
CON: Confused consumers
Seasonal packaging has the potential to confuse your customers. After all, festive periods already attract a lot of advertising “noise”, which can be very distracting and overwhelming for consumers. In all this commotion it’s important to be true to your brand strengths. Stick to what works, otherwise you risk losing your brand identity and your customers. Ensuring that your key brand assets, such as your logo and font, remain consistent means your consumers will be able to locate your product quickly.
The bottom line
Clever packaging can be the deciding factor in the fight for consumer spend. And never is eye-catching packaging design more important than at Christmas. But if you are going to do it, make sure you can afford the fallout should things go wrong. Plan early, stay true to your brand, and the rest should follow.
For guidance on coding and labelling technology to mark seasonal packaging, please contact us for a chat or call 1300 CODING (1300 263 464). And don’t forget inspection equipment: now is not the time to lost profits with out-of-spec goods!
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Image credit / malerapaso