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Black Packaging and Consumer Opinion

Black Packaging and Consumer Opinion
Black Packaging Can Signal Premium

Why are so many brands choosing black packaging? In a struggling economy, consumers are increasing cost sensitive and black can signal “premium”. The color black can symbolize power, sexuality, sophistication, formality, wealth, and more. A recent article in WSJ, “Packaging Noir: Shampoo, Beer, Gelato All Wear Black”, how real brands are leveraging the color black in their packaging. Below we will share those examples, along with the reasoning behind the color choice, and the risk.

Brands Choosing Black

The use of black has really exploded,” says Mike Cecil, senior brand manager of Renuzit air freshener from Henkel AG’s Dial Corp., which in August introduced a new line of cone fresheners packaged in black.

Also, Anheuser-Busch InBev has recently introduced its first black beer bottle, complete with a black label, for Beck’s Sapphire. Häagen-Dazs, owned by General Mills Inc., has just brought out a gelato line in black containers.

Shampoo rivals are also dressing alike for the packaging prom. In January, L’Oréal SA launched Advanced Haircare shampoos and conditioners, a new line in sleek black bottles—the same month when Procter & Gamble brought Pantene’s black-clad Expert Collection to stores.

Why Use Black Packaging?

Big supermarket brands invest countless hours and dollars studying which colors and graphics will grab the eye of hurried shoppers maneuvering through crowded store aisles. So the more-or-less simultaneous adoption of black by a brand and its rival would seem like an unfortunate coincidence.

Some marketers say black’s popularity is a reaction to the continued lackluster economy, which has consumers gravitating to lower-priced items. Black subtly conveys “premium,” they say.

People want premium products so long as they don’t cost too much,” says Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation at Anheuser-Busch. Consumers are saying, “I can’t drive a high-end car but I can drink a slightly more premium beer without breaking the bank.”

For example, Beck’s Sapphire beer mentioned earlier is brewed with “German sapphire aroma hops,” costs 20% to 25% more than regular beer.

Dial says the new Renuzit air fresheners have roughly 25% more premium fragrance oils and cost about 25 cents more than the company’s existing cone fresheners. “It’s about finding new ways to signal affordable luxury,” says Mr. Cecil at Dial.

Too Much Black Packaging?

With so many brands in black, there is always a danger consumers will be turned off, or worse, simply won’t notice.

Renuzit is already updating its black air-freshener packages, which hit store shelves in summer, adding brightness to the images and text to help them pop even more on store shelves.

Our launch packaging ended up a bit darker than we set out,” says Dial’s Mr. Cecil. “Being lead to market with black in a category brings with it some learning curves.”

Black has been a packaging standard in consumer electronics for years but once was considered taboo for other products, including food, packaging experts say.

You wouldn’t even have the conversation about the color because it had too much negative baggage,” says Rick Barrack, chief creative officer at CBX, a packaging design firm in New York.

That changed in the economic boom of the 1980s, when more companies adopted black packages to signal luxury, says David Turner, partner at the package-design firm Turner Duckworth.

You can read the full WSJ article here and view all images here http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324662404578330162064184332.html

Your Opinions on Black Packaging?

What are your thoughts on using the color black for product packaging? Please let us know in the comment box below and share this post with those interested in product packaging trends! Learn more about: packaging design.

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