Posts filed under ‘Packaging’

Colour bombs nail pops – they rock !

This is a post that I’ve been thinking of writing for some time – ever since I made one of my infrequent visits to a small cosmetics store last year and noticed a brand that stood out on the shelf, or in the basket as in this case.

If you’re in India, visit a small ‘gift shop’ or cosmetics shop or bindi-bangle store in your neighbourhood market and take a look at how nail-polish bottles are stocked. Only expensive nail-polishes from premium brands are kept on shelves, the rest that are priced at Rs. 15 – Rs. 50 per bottle are just dumped higgledy-piggledy into a box or a basket – all colours and all brands together, this box is either kept on the counter or under the counter and brought out when a customer asks to see products.

colourboms pic - grouped pic.jpg

As it is, for the vast majority of consumers, nail polish purchase is driven by colour and price, not as much by brand. To add to it, you have staff at the retail counter who often tell consumers things such as this statement, “aapko color jo pasand aata ai woh nikalo, brand se kya lena dena, sabhi same hai, utne hi chalte hai” (“select whichever colour you like, how does the brand matter, they’re all as popular”). Then how does a brand ensure that consumers are loyal to it and pick it up out of the box each time, from among a huge assortment of polishes such as  VOV, Etude, Bo, 8C Lacque, Incolor, Tips and Toes, Caty Girl ( I kid you not !), Bonjour, Priya, Ambar, Blue Heaven, BCC, Miss Claire, Honey Sweet (like the Bond heroine ?), Teen Teen etc. ?

Well, at least one brand focused on understanding their TG, creating packaging that would appeal to them and get their attention, and then communicating the same. Elle 18, HULs colour cosmetics brand for young women was re-launched in Nov 2010 with the ‘Colour Bombs’ range. The brand was positioned as a young, modern, trendy yet affordable brand for its TG comprising 13-18 year olds who are willing to experiment with explosive colors, as the name ‘Color Bombs’ suggests.

colourboms pic 4.jpg

These products were made to appeal to a young woman / teenager every which way, beginning with the name itself – which young lady does not (at least occasionally) aspire to look like a ‘bomb’ ? The range has the bright vibrant colours that are all the rage with young women today, the packs have a shape that’s different from the packs of other brands, with funky illustrations of women on them that utilize the little blank space available on the small pack most efficiently. The imagery and colors used in the new packaging and communication are young and edgy and completely different from the earlier plain-Jane look of Elle 18. I just loved the way the image on the nail-polish bottle – which no competitor has – made this pack stand out and grab attention amongst the clutter of products in the nail-polish box on the retail counter.

colourboms pic 3

colourboms pic 5

Note : While this post has focused on nail polish, the Colour Bombs range has nail paints, lipsticks, lip glosses, black eye-liner and kohl too, all priced between Rs. 45 and Rs. 100.

colour bombs grouped pic 2

p.s Here’s a link to the ad in case you’re interested. Frankly, I didn’t like this ad much and thought it didn’t live up to the excitement and joie-de-vivre of the brand name and the packaging ; but what do I know, I’m not the TG, I’m an Auntyji.

  • Zenobia Driver

July 30, 2013 at 6:16 am 4 comments

Vertical Branding

In a recent post, I mentioned that one of the things that makes the Himalayan water bottle stand out from its competitors is its vertical branding. Similarly, have noticed that several other products – Coca-Cola cans, Fosters beers, Cinthol talcum powder and deodorant, Axe range of products, Eva, etc. –  are also using vertical branding on their packaging. It got me wondering about whether this is the latest trend in packaging design, and even though we are seeing it more and more of it these days, whether it really works. I could think of several factors both for and against it – for instance, when most products have horizontal branding, vertical branding stands out on the shelf, but it could make the brand name difficult to read for many people, especially in a country with low literacy levels. As an aside, one reason it may work well for Himalayan water is that the target audience is well educated and can read the brand name easily.

I reached out to Poornima Burte, Graphic Designer and Owner of Design Orb, a boutique brand design firm, for more information.  [Disclosure: Escape Velocity has worked with Poornima and the Design Orb team in the past]

Excerpts from the discussion with Poornima Burte given below:

RJ: Are there any particular industries, products, packaging type, etc. where vertical branding works well? Any cases in which it should be avoided?

PB: Generally vertical branding works well in horizontally constrained spaces or when using on a curved surface or if the name is long. Vertical branding helps avoid distortion of the brand name on a curved surface, especially if it’s a long name, making it easier to read.

Apart from space constraints, whether to use vertical branding or not depends on how the consumer is going to interact with the product too. For example, in the case of FMCG products that are typically stacked on racks that go all the way to the floor, and the consumer is typically only a foot away from it, it makes it difficult to read a vertically oriented name, especially if they are stocked on the bottom racks. Also, in the case of FMCG products, the shelves that they are stocked on often have a 1-2 inch high railing to prevent the products from falling off the shelves. These railings hide the bottom of all packaging – in such cases also vertical branding is not recommended.

On the other hand, in a chemist shop, a consumer seems the products from a 2-3 feet distance making it easier to read vertically oriented names. Also chemist shelves don’t run all the way to the floor, making it easier to view. Chemist shop shelves are generally glass shelves with no railing in the front, hence avoiding covering any part of the packaging.

That said, while vertical branding works better in chemist shop environments vs. general retail, I would not use vertical branding for prescription products. Prescription products typically have very direct and precise content – for instance, dosage instructions, ingredients, side effects, etc. – that needs to be communicated in a clear manner. On the other hand, in case of an OTC product, apart from such medical oriented content, it may need to convey the same message in a consumer friendly manner too, wherein a lot more imagery and symbols could be used to convey the message. In such cases, vertical branding could be used.

Several products are available in very small pack sizes and in such cases also vertical branding would work especially if they are in a bottle. Say for example, the small 20gm pack size of talcum powders. The bottles are so small that if they continue to use the same packaging design as the regular sized bottles, the logo and imagery used really suffer. They need to be downsized to such a degree that it becomes difficult for consumers to read.

In a more formal corporate setting, vertical logos do not work, but when it comes to packaging it is fine to use a vertical orientation. Industries like fashion, photography, foods and beverages are more open to and use exploratory ways of showing their name, while you’ll hardly find any Fortune 500 company with a logo not oriented horizontally.


RJ: Could you give me some examples of vertical branding where you think it has worked well?

PB:Nowadays I am seeing several beauty and skin care products using vertical branding like in the case of new Sunsilk hair care range called Keratinology. Contrast this to their regular line of hair care which has its branding horizontally oriented. The new packaging is using taller, slimmer bottles and hence vertical branding works better here.


RJ: Do you think vertical branding is the new trend in packaging design?

PB: Logos need to last, they need a certain degree of longevity and therefore one shouldn’t move with trends. Orienting the logo is more about being appropriate than being trendy.

Vertical branding is not the latest trend, it’s been around for a while; given its nature and constraints, it needs to be deployed with sensitivity for optimum results.


  • Roshni Jhaveri


September 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm 2 comments

A Water Tale

Himalayan. Sure, we’ve all noticed it thanks to its packaging. It stands out in pink from the entire lot of blue, green labeled bottled water bottles, colors you’d typically associate with water. It stands out also because it looks contemporary – thanks to its vertical logo design as compared to the others that are oriented horizontally.

These things stand out at first glance, but what really caught my attention in these Himalayan water bottles on a closer look, was the use of varied imagery across bottles as well as different narratives to create tales about water.

Here are a few:

I was born in the Sivalik range of the Himalayas. In a place most of you visit only in an Atlas. In a time that wasn’t measured by cuckoos that sprang out of clocks. In a silence that was sometimes punctuated by howling winds and gushing streams. In a world that had nothing to do with yours. Seems like reason enough to be here. Live Natural.

I am so pure I make a worldly worn-out cliché like “pure” seem new again. So pristine, I could have only survived twelve hundred meters above the rest of the world. So removed, the only things I’ve been in contact with before you are sun, wind, earth and snow. I am one of the purest things you’ve laid your hands on. I hope you are thirsty. Live Natural.

I look back on life – its funny how things turn out. You, the creator of beeping sirens and honking cars, yearn for the solitude of mountains. You, a connoisseur of fast food, now gaze at water that took years to gather natural minerals as it trickled down from the Himalayas to within your reach. And I, some of the purest water in the world, stand here, trapped in a bottle. Come, enjoy the irony. Live Natural.

These short narratives help personify the brand. Give it a voice. Connect the consumer with its source, its life and its natural goodness. Sets it apart from other water.

This is a clear example of laddering up the benefits to appeal to the consumers. They all talk about safety and hygiene, but Himalayan takes it to the next level of a natural, pure, life. And these narratives – some factual, some poetic, some poignant, some sarcastic – help make the connection of the brand to the consumer.

  • Roshni Jhaveri

August 28, 2012 at 9:56 am 1 comment

Format & Packaging – Innovations & Modifications

Although examples of format and packaging innovations in India are few, there are several such examples from the developed markets.

Format and packaging modifications such as portion control, re-sealability and on-the-go consumption packaging are being used to create differentiation and further open up the market in the F&B space.

Several brands have launched the controlled-calorie packs such as Kraft Foods’ 100 Calorie Packs for Oreo Thin Crisps, Chips Ahoy Thin Crisps and Wheat Thin Minis; PepsiCo-owned Frito-Lay’s also has100 Calorie Mini Bites Cheetos and Doritos. Several beverages have also launched 100 calories packs – such as Coca-Cola, Bacardi Breezers, etc. When Krafts Foods first introduced these in 2004 in the US, these controlled-calorie packs virtually created a new product category and Kraft notched $75 million in sales in the first year it introduced 100 calorie packs, as per IRI and their data didn’t include Walmart sales.

Re-sealability is the latest in packaging. Zip-lock packs have been in the market for quite some time now, but the new offering in re-sealability is Snack-n-Seal. Once used largely for moist-towelettes, this type of re-sealable packaging is making its way into the snack food industry. It’s ideal for snacks like Oreos that need to be sealed but not refrigerated. A large portion of the pack’s top may be peeled open to withdraw cookies, then resealed for freshness and on-the-go convenience. Earlier it used to be available in the wrap, roll, clip and seal packaging – which was convenient too, but the newer one is just way easier.

Basis our observations, it seems like Kraft Foods is the pioneer in such packaging innovations. Others have tried a different approach – Keebler Chips Deluxe cookies launched a new Keebler Take-Alongs cookie multipack contains six on-the-go, single-serve cups that each hold four cookies. The new package addresses consumer needs for convenience and portability, while protecting the cookies from breakage.

Another format that several brands introduced is the daily-dose packaging. For example, in Europe, the daily dose packaging format has transformed the fate of the cholesterol-lowering drink market and has become the package format of choice. Unilever has chosen the 100 ml drink format for every single functional food launch in Europe over the past 18 months, including an omega-3 drink, a blood pressure-lowering drink and a drink that delivers two of your “5-a-day” fruits and vegetable intake. This packaging innovation – a convenient daily dose – has grown in the European market by more than 50% in the space of just two-and-a-half years. These little bottles account for over 30% of the European market.

Slowly and steadily these innovations and modifications will make their way into our markets, just as these brands and others are finally setting up shop here.



Roshni Jhaveri

January 17, 2012 at 6:37 am 1 comment

Format & Packaging – Becoming critical factors in purchase decision

A friend, let’s call him Mr. S, an extremely healthy eater and fitness freak, travels every week for work to semi-urban places where he has no access to healthy food alternatives. He prefers to carry snacks from home. His preference – McVities over Britannia NutriChoice basis taste. But his final purchase choice – Britannia NutriChoice 5 Grain, Ragi and Oats biscuits over McVities. Why so? – Because unlike McVities, Britannia NutriChoice range of biscuits come in single-serve packets. Each box contains 4-6 smaller packets containing 3 biscuits each, so he can eat 1 packet at a time and not worry about putting a rubber band around the remaining biscuits, or sealing it properly to avoid spillage and sogginess. McVities on the other hand- comes in a single stack of biscuits wrapped in plastic inside a cardboard carton. Such is the power of this convenience offering.

Similarly, although he prefers the taste & texture of Quaker Oats, he travels with Sunny Select brand of instant oatmeal which comes in single-serve sachets and in assorted flavors such as apple & cinnamon, bananas & cream, blueberries and cream, peaches and cream, strawberries and cream and has low-sugar variants.

Mrs. P, full-time office manager, mother of two teenage boys and overweight, prefers to eat Special K, but has to end up carrying the smaller packs of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes as her snack to office, because Special K isn’t available in snack-size packs.

McVities, Quaker Oats and Others – are you listening?


Roshni Jhaveri

January 11, 2012 at 5:32 am 6 comments

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