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A short Brandweek article touting MillerCoors package innovations caught my eye recently. At a time when consumer product sales have slumped, manufacturers are looking to unveil new product or package innovations they think might create buzz and give them an edge again.

The brewer apparently saw unit sales drop by 1.7% last year, but it is planning to counter that along with competition coming from Anheuser-Busch with product innovations and new advertising spends. Its first big idea: a new bottle designed with interior grooves.

Pouring the beer out creates the appearance of a “vortex." With advertising support behind the new bottle, and the tag “great pilsner taste," MillerCoors is likely to get some interest here.

Other innovations are: the 16 oz. Coors Aluminum Pint and a Coors Light Cold Activated Window 12-pack. The cans in brand signature silver feature the iconic mountain range in thermochromatic ink. The ink turns blue when the cans are chilled to the ideal temperature for consumption. These innovations will likely be advertised.

Some might say that an interesting pour and color magic will get you just so far. But here’s my take: Packaging does a lot to enhance—or detract from—customer experiences.

In fact, researchers say that at least 70% of the time consumers make final purchase decisions right at the shelf. That just goes to show how important packaging is to the decision-making process. When consumers opt to purchase a product, and packaging has helped seal the deal, we refer to that as “the first moment of truth.”

Then, when customers actually engage with the packaging as they use the product, a “second moment of truth” unfolds. If packaging heightens the user experience in some way,or makes the product more memorable, it’s likely consumers will purchase it again. In fact, it’s much more likely the brand and product will become the one of choice.

So maybe creating a vortex in a bottle isn’t so far-fetched. Maybe packaging that changes color to indicate ideal drinkability isn’t either.

Questions:
• Do you think these new packaging innovations are just marketing gimmicks or do you think consumers will see real value in them?
• Are there specific products you purchase because the packaging adds substantially to their value in some way? If so, which ones and why?

I’d love to hear from you.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ted Mininni is president of Design Force, Inc. (www.designforceinc.com), a leading brand-design consultancy to consumer product companies (phone: 856-810-2277). Ted is also a regular contributor to the MarketingProfs blog, the Daily Fix.