Creative Packaging Pumps Up Branded CPG Sales

Sales of branded consumer packaged goods have struggled during the recession. Anxious to save money, consumers have shifted their purchases to less expensive private label products. But what if the product’s packaging was more enticing or became a part of the product itself? Would sales increase?

A recent New York Times article by Andres Adam Newman revealed how Kimberly Clark corporation solved the problem of slow tissues sales linked both to seasonality and the recession. According to research from SymphonyIRI Group, sales of tissue can drop by as much as 60%  during the summer months. After all, consumers typically do not have as many colds and viruses that time of year. And both Kimberly Clark and Procter & Gamble, giants in the personal tissue market, have noted measurable sales declines as a result of the recession.

To counter the problem, Kimberly Clark worked to develop a Kleenex package that extended the product line. For example, one package was shaped like a wedge of watermelon and painted to resemble that summer fruit. The new design gave consumers a new reason to purchase a box of tissue — decorative. This wasn’t the company’s first move into creative packaging. Newman informs readers that the company introduced “an  oval carton with a pattern of Christmas lights that actually flickered when a tissue was pulled out” a couple of years ago.

This product line extension has not cannibalized sales as some experts expected. Instead Craig Smith, brand director of Kleenex, says “we saw close to 100 percent incrementality.”  The company believes both existing and new customers were prompted to buy the brightly colored packages. And one of the brand design directors at Kleenex says the package is considered part of the product, especially as consumers purchase them for display around the home.

Look for more CPG manufacturers to adjust their product packaging and find new ways to engage consumers. As they do, more creative marketing campaigns may be part of the mix as well.

[Source: Newman, Andrew, Adam. A Sport Focus on Design When the Package is Part of the Product. New York Times. 8 Jul. 2010. Web. 20 Jul. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.