Special K’s new look: have they gone too far?
Posted by Rebecca Cook on July 24, 2012
Comment on this article
Whilst choosing my breakfast in the cereal aisle, I was intrigued to see that Kellogg’s have launched a new packaging design across the Special K range. My initial thoughts were that it certainly looked more modern; but also that it was clinical and stark.
On paper, Kellogg’s have taken what would appear to be positive steps towards improving the packaging in terms of ‘design’; simplifying the images, fonts and the background and, if tested, consumers may even rationalise in a research-setting that this design is an improvement. However, consumers’ response to FMCG packaging is impulsive and therefore, not straightforward.
Our packaging communication experience has taught us that, what is sometimes considered as ‘clutter’ on a design, can often be working hard to communicate positive messages to the consumers’ sub-conscious. The old Special K packaging included a blue information flash, a swoosh in the background of the right-hand side and shadowing behind the product name all of which added a warmth which helped dial up appetite appeal, signal quality and make it eye-catching. Without these devices the packaging looks somewhat sterile and over-simplified so that it could be mistaken as the private label version.
Even the images of the wheat and the flakes appear to have undergone colour treatment to make them look lighter. This may have been an attempt to make the product look fresher, but along with the other changes, the result is that the product looks disappointingly artificial.
Our approach to packaging evaluation ensures we explore the rational responses which help us build the right solution as well as qualitatively exploring the emotional, intuitive responses which consumers often find it difficult to articulate. Using a range of techniques and stimulus we are able get beyond the rational to the more emotional responses which allows us to understand how consumers will intuitively react to the pack when it is on shelf.