Symbiotic Marketing and Package Design

A few years ago, we heard all about how Co-branding & marketing was supposed to be the way of the future. You’d have Coke and Disney getting together to make commercials or something and they’d get the bonus of splitting the ad costs. Curiously, we don’t see it too much right now. That’s kind of sad, as there is a lot of potential.

I think a nifty place where I have been seeing it sprout is in private label packaging, like the Kmart kitty litter shown above. On the back of the bag, they advertise Kmart’s pet medications service. The people who buy kitty litter will probably also have need of  medication services, if not now, certainly in the future, and since there really isn’t a lot of marketing that Kmart can smear on an entry -level bag of litter, this is all about a win. It’s illustrative of how private label packaging is over-ripe for this very sort of marketing.

As mentioned before, private label merchandise, by it’s very nature, has to look slightly lower-class than its name brand rivals. This is necessary to create the stratification of product offerings, as there are several sorts of shopper so there needs to be several levels of products. Being that the private label stuff is more bland, there invaribly is a lot more room on the package. Most times, this space is soaked up by half-hearted graphics or stretching the trade dress – sometimes in strange ways.

Putting advertisements, or even coupons, on packaging for other projects not only offsets the awkwardness of that space, it also puts to use the valuable space that these products have.

Since most private label shoppers perceive themselves as thrifty, a coupon campaign designed to create interest horizontally across the product line is probably the best bet. This will drive customers to more purchases, as well as enlighten shoppers to other products they may not be aware the store carries.

For instance, the ice cream line could carry coupons on it’s label for chocolate toppings or perhaps a new line of cones. The root beer 2 liters could have a coupon that gives a certain percentage off when purchased with vanilla ice cream.

The downside is there may be occaisions where it is a necessity to watch for expiration dates on the promotions. In these cases, advertisements might be the best course of action. That root beer container might say  ” Make Root Beer Floats with Our Vanilla Ice Cream!”

It’s like you’re adding a built in sales guy and packaging space is expensive, why not use it.

I’d recommend this for name brands as well. I know that sometimes it’s hard for Ivory Towers to talk to each other, but this could be a boon for the smaller vendors – especially specialty vendors.

Bringing together a dairy vendor and a specialty cereal vendor would be interesting. The benefit is that each vendor would be able to advertise their products in two distinct areas of a store. As in the cereal/diary scenario, the cereal people get the benefit of mention in dairy as well as the diary getting heard in cereal. Two places that are separated by a great distance in store-world but are certainly related when they’re in a person’s home or mind – that’s a win for both companies that get together to get more sales.

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