Marketing Idea No. 288 – Un-labelling: How brand packaging is embracing extreme minimalism

Packaging was always the last ditch effort to communicate brand cues, category cues, product benefits and unique selling proposition. But a growing trend around the world is showing brands moving packaging beyond the purely visual into the primary touch-point of an emotionally resonant experience that creates trust, loyalty, differentiation and desire. And the way they are doing it is by simplifying everything and embracing extreme minimalism.

When Nutella and Vaseline removes everything from their packaging and label except their brand logo in Word mark, it speaks of a micro trend. But when industry heavyweights and classic brand like Pepsi and Coke removes everything from their can except the Brand name and logo, it speaks of a global megatrend. Star bucks followed suit in 2011 when they removed the brand name from the label and kept the Mermaid symbol only. Nike probably pioneered this trend years ago when they took away the brand name to keep the simple “Swoosh”, which eventually became the most noticeable brand identity mark in the world.

All this simplifying is marketers attempt to go back to basics and build a relationship that is based on core issues like trust. But some brands are pushing the envelope further than the others.

Heinz’s “Get Well” campaign from 2011 and 2012, had a place in Ad Age’s list of the ten best social-media campaigns of the year and had it for a reason. The campaign cleverly combined digital marketing with distinctive packaging. The campaign allowed Facebook users to send personalized “Get well” soup cans to their friends when they are sick. Through this campaign Heinz gained 75,000 new Facebook fans, 650% increase in Facebook page interaction. To cap it off, more than 4,000 cans of “Get Well” soup were sent.

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