In a surprising turn of events, Expo East marked its final show. We didn’t know at the time that our plans to shake up our decades of traditional show participation would be a part of Expo East’s swan song. As branding professionals, us Voodoo-Ites typically roam the exhibition floors, immersing ourselves in the latest product innovations while internally noting emerging design trends. However, this time, we were determined to break the mold and have a little fun.
Introducing, ‘YOU’VE BEEN JUDGED!’ Instead of quietly evaluating packaging design and engaging in casual conversations with founders and CEOs, we decided to put every package we encountered through an on-the-spot rating system. We handed out QR codes for each of the judged booths to scan and discover their packaging’s rating. Our assessment was based on the critical criteria we use when we conduct a brand audit, determining whether the package design effectively served as the brand’s crucial first point of sale or if it had the potential to work harder.
Here are some of the discoveries made:
Amidst a playful display of contemporary illustration and fun splashes of color- a refreshing departure from the era of “green symbolizes organic” and “farmer’s market white conveys natural”, a vanilla level of disruption in a sea of same-ness was the prevailing theme despite the trendy aesthetics. Most on-pack communication, essential for consumer shopability, was all too often challenging to navigate. Overall, whether embracing the latest of what I’ll call “that-girl” type trends or adhering to a simpler approach, a significant portion of the evaluated packaging had room for improvement, highlighting the need for brands to strive for greater impact on shelf.
With that, however, there were a few observations that echoed the sentiment we’ve been championing for the past two years.
It’s time to:
- Move your certification icon away from the primary display panel.
- Explore flavor navigation and other product attributes without resorting to a rainbow of background colors.
- Defy the boundaries of your brand’s category or risk being lost in the murky middle.
This leads me to applaud our friends at Truly Good Foods for their bold leap of faith and willingness to take risks. The impact of their brand disruption and innovative product flavor combinations has quickly set them apart.
Here are a few of the top-rated brands we encountered at the show, and winners of our very own People’s Choice Awards, each offering a refreshing dose of disruption in its category, along with the essential on-pack communication needed for successful shopability from 10 ft away or 3 ft away.
A classic, minimalist approach, breaking the category norm for jarred sauces. Bellissimo!
Modern illustration meets vibrant color splashes and good vibes 🙂
A nostalgic twist shakes up the antacid category. The sustainable packaging and retro design language deliver all the good feels.
Minimalism in all forms. These guys didn’t just remove the junk from the product and packaging materials. They removed it from cluttering up their on-pack comms as well. Clean, direct, easy to shop.
And because their packaging is just darn good CPG, we’d like to throw a little love at these guys with an Honorable Mention.
Whoa! Dough: The bold and playful type expression on a brightly colored background with large appetite appeal does a great job of commanding attention by breaking the category norm.
HopWTR: This beer alt packs a clean and centralized communication architecture that makes it super easy for the consumer to shop. The mix of solid and smartly patterned backgrounds add to the delightful disruption on shelf. Wonderful Branding!
Zhou Nutrition: Super clear product navigation and benefit claims. The added pop of metallic foil helps elevate an otherwise straightforward labeling system and creates a subtle glimmer as you walk by grabbing your eye.
Hand-In-Hand: A simple design making a big impact. You don’t have to work hard to know what this product is or what’s in it. Keeping the primary display clutter free and moving all of the free from claims to the side and back panels has this packaging system’s shopability test pass with flying colors!
In a surprising turn of events, Expo East marked its final show. We didn’t know at the time that our plans to shake up our decades of traditional show participation would be a part of Expo East’s swan song. As branding professionals, us Voodoo-Ites typically roam the exhibition floors, immersing ourselves in the latest product innovations while internally noting emerging design trends. However, this time, we were determined to break the mold and have a little fun. Introducing, ‘YOU’VE BEEN JUDGED!’ Instead of quietly evaluating packaging design and engaging in casual conversations with founders and CEOs, we decided to put…
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When you add a product to your lineup — a new flavor, perhaps — how easy is it to crank out the package for the new SKU? If you’re considering extending into another category — say, from tortilla chips to fresh salsa — will your existing packaging easily adapt to the new form and the conventions of the other category? Marketing and brand managers often run into brick walls when they try to develop packaging for new units. They need more flexibility in packaging as the brand grows; they want a future-proof design. They feel stuck within the constraints of…