I know a lot of skeptics are anti-marketing, and I know several who claim they deliberately avoid â€˜brandedâ€™ goods. All well and good, but personally I embrace a little bit of luxury now and again, and nothing embodies this sentiment better than really beautifully designed and manufactured packaging.
Packaging can be as much a part of the emotional interaction with a product as the actual contents. The buying process is enhanced, firstly by the aesthetics of the packaging on the shelf, secondly by the weight and feel of the object in your hand, and lastly by the thrill of paying a little extra for the luxury of great packaging. You know itâ€™s wrong to pay for the outer shell, but wrong often feels right. Eat a lot of cake and see what I mean.
Packaging design is a long-practiced art (yes, I said art, as in â€˜disciplineâ€™ but also as in â€˜nice to look atâ€™) and I considered making this post a justification of it, perhaps in an attempt to knock some of the hard edges off the anti-marketing skeptics. But I donâ€™t think I need to, because I simply donâ€™t believe there is anyone out there, skeptic or not, who doesnâ€™t have a favourite item that isnâ€™t a strictly rational purchase, or who doesnâ€™t occasionally think â€œooh, that looks niceâ€ just based on the colour, design or shape of a product.
Instead, I am presenting you with some of my favourite packaging design. These are items I buy not just for their contents, but for the whole shebang, and are either proper classics, or destined to enter the packaging hall of fame.
Kikkomanâ€™s Soy Sauce
Itâ€™s quality soy sauce, but it also comes in the best bottle ever. Squat and happy, the jolly little fellow just begs you to pour a liberal dose of his insides all over your rice.
Getting â€˜smelliesâ€™ for Christmas is brilliant. When are you ever going to spend Â£20 on a bottle of bath foam for yourself? Unless youâ€™re the Queen (or a member of Queen, apparently they own more of London than Her Majesty), you arenâ€™t going to fork out silly money for posh bubbles. But Molton Brown packaging is divine. You could always refill the bottles with cheap supermarket-own-brand stuff once itâ€™s all goneâ€¦
Imperial Leather Soap
This is â€˜justâ€™ a bar of soap, but when I was a kid it was the height of luxury, and the joy of a new bar has endured. Firstly, it comes in a box which is the same shape as the bar inside. The actual soap is wrapped in gold foil, and when you remove that, the brick-shaped bar inside has a matching gold sticker in the centre which doesnâ€™t come off when the soap gets wet. Itâ€™s just fantastic, and a cheap thrill to boot.
These are a relatively new product on the UK market, and as well as being really delicious chocolate brownies, are packaged so beautifully itâ€™s almost OK to spend the Â£5 asking price. The brownies are small and individually wrapped, and placed neatly inside a cunningly-lidded black matte box. My luxury-o-meter goes off the chart but my environment-o-meter is sadly flaccid. I buy â€˜em anyway.
Diet Coke in a glass bottle
Glass bottles have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance lately, which I welcome. In a pub, the advantages of the glass bottle of Coke over the horrid draught stuff are obvious (the syrup to water ratio, the carbonation, etc), but for home purchasing itâ€™s a really silly vanity. Nonetheless, itâ€™s one I indulge in because thereâ€™s nothing better than getting home on a hot day and cracking open a hand-sized, ice cold bottle of Diet Coke, even though it cost more than an entire 2 litre plastic bottle.
Those are a few of my favourites. Indulge me with yours.