Science Fiction?

Posted on August 10, 2007

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???If you???re walking down a row in a supermarket and every package is screaming at you, it sounds like a terrifying, disgusting experience,??? said Tracy Lovatt, director for behavioral planning at BBDO North America, an advertising agency in the Omnicom Group.

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Can you imagine?  Packages that talk to you?  According to the New York Times, the reality isn’t far off.  It’s like some sort of strange Science Fiction novel come to life… Now that I think about it, we already have greeting cards that sing, so it can’t cost much more to put that technology on a Pepsi can.  I think the real question is: is all this fancy packaging really going to capture my attention?

What’s interesting to me is that the New York Times story ended up in my inbox on the same day I ran across this blog post from Steve Rubel.  According to Steve:

"… there is definitely a bubble and therefore a crash coming. It’s not financial. It’s not related to the level of noise or startups. This crash is personal.  We are reaching a point where the number of inputs we have as individuals is beginning to exceed what we are capable as humans of managing. The demands for our attention are becoming so great, and the problem so widespread, that it will cause people to crash and curtail these drains."

I’d agree that sometimes so much information is being thrown my way that it makes my head spin.  It comes in the form of news, marketing campaigns, advertisements, emails, text messages, twitter streams… the list goes on.  But, will product packages that shout at me cut through this clutter?  I think, after the novelty wears off, they’ll just annoy me more than anything.  It will be one more thing that adds to the "noise."

The rest of today’s New York Times piece talks about how companies are visually redesigning product packaging.  Where the design cycle used to take years, it now takes only weeks, and brands like Kleenex and Coors are revamping packaging more often than ever before.  Maybe it’s just that I’m a visually stimulated person, but I’d rather SEE something cool on a package than HEAR it.  I appreciate refreshing designs; and as long as I’m assured that what’s in the package remains the same quality that I’ve come to trust from my favorite brands, I’ll pick up the cooler package any day.

The rest of my two cents: Coors has a great new label that changes color to show the temperatue of your beer.  Not only does it look cool on the shelf, it also leads to much faster drinking – you just don’t want to drink warm beer.  Check out the evolution of the Coors label on their Web site.

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