Most of us at some point in our lives have probably been triggered to make an impulse purchase (or at least considered purchasing) one of our favourite brands solely because of the packaging.
There’s a high probability too that the particular brand packaging in question was of a ‘limited edition’ variety. Brands tend to investment considerable effort into limited edition products and, as a result, the packaging design typically has even greater impact on its target audience.
Exclusivity Rewards Loyal Customers
However limited edition packaging isn’t always appreciated, as MAC executives discovered when they launched their Wonder Woman range in spring 2011. This was in collaboration with DC Comics who owned the rights to the cartoon character. The MAC range included lipsticks, eye shadow, nail polish and blusher ranging from €6. to €35.
Image via Flickr and Bruno Boutot
The look was bright, dynamic (like the character herself) and, some said, ‘tacky.’ Many of the brand’s followers didn’t approve of the MAC Wonder Woman packaging, believing it cheapened the MAC brand (which is seen as a quality cosmetics leader with a trendy, younger customer base). Other fans defended the brand saying they loved the “fun, funky look.” As a result the controversy received lots of varied opinions and comments on websites, social media and blogs – all which, of course, greatly stimulated brand interest even further.
Image via Cult Beauty
MAC executives built up a significant amount of pre-release excitement and anticipation by sending samples to leading beauty bloggers and magazines. Each product in the limited edition range was supported with a detailed descriptions, ensuring plentiful coverage for its target audience to read about.
All this pre-launch activity ensured the Wonder Woman limited edition lipsticks, blushers etc. generated lots of online traction thereby making them easy to find on search engines and consequently in retail outlets too when finally released. Cumulatively this integrated pre-launch marketing strategy raised the MAC Wonder Woman limited edition range profile and stimulated greatly increased interest to potentially purchase.
In an effort to gain further traction for their limited edition packaging, MAC also initially limited the collections availability. The Pro Members on the MAC website were given access to the MAC Wonder Woman goods 12 hours before anyone else – thereby increasing the range’s exclusivity even further. MAC limited edition products have been known to sell-out within two days. The MAC Wonder Woman range was no exception.
Beefeater Gin chimed into the London zeitgeist last year when it launched a limited edition bottle aimed at celebrating the capital’s stupendous year with the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Their new bottle, coloured pillar box red, celebrated London’s ‘inner eccentricity’ the company said, by showing glimpses of London life inside the outline of a beefeater to reflect the city’s vibrancy and diversity. Pre-orders for the bottle were the highest the company has ever received, which is a testament to its success as a limited edition range.
Where Beefeater really excelled with the limited edition brand packaging was in associating their brand with the ‘feel good and success factor’ that was very much an integral experience of London at the time. Beefeater is a London brand and by amplifying its association with key London characteristics around a significant event, Beefeater executives hoped that customers would associate the Beefeater brand with a happy occasion in their lives, and one which brought to mind the feeling of success as well as celebration.
Image via Packaging of the World
Reinforcing Brand Identity
Another association which enhanced a brand (also a drinks company) was that of film director David Lynch and Dom Pérignon. The arty and cool Californian-based movie maker designed new ‘ghostly’ labels for the brand.
Image via Harvey Nichols
According to the brand’s website, the two have much in common. A spokesman for Dom Pérignon said: “The worlds of Dom Pérignon and the one of David Lynch have many points in common: mystery, intensity, commitment, time, the constant reinvention of the self, and above all, absolute faith in the power of creation.”
So Why Does Limited Edition Packaging Typically Sell So Well?
Apart from the above ‘success/feel good’ associations (Beefeater) and creating demand through exclusivity (MAC), limited edition brand packaging can also reaffirm to its target customer that he or she has made the right brand choice. Limited edition packaging tends to be of a higher and more eye-catching quality than the standard packaging for the brand, which in turn makes it look even more enticing and, importantly, more exclusive and thereby making it more sought after.
Limited Edition Packaging Can Be A Test For Permanent Packaging
And what happens when a limited edition brand is just too popular to remain a one-off? Ask Coca Cola. Such was the popularity of the drink giant’s exclusive diet coke design that it decided to resurrect it a year later and make the bold and more minimalist design its standard Diet Coke can format.
The design enlarges then crops the original Diet Coke logo which makes it more eye-catching on shelves, according to the company’s executives.
Image via CreativeBoysClub.com
It Can Result In A Whole New Brand Campaign Strategy
Kit Kat wanted to ensure its limited edition white chocolate bars were never forgotten – and managed to boost its free publicity quota as a result.
The Australian branch of the chocolate firm said they were preserving a piece of the brand’s history by saving the last 50 bars and handing them over to illustrator Mike Watt. He then proceeded to melt the bars down and form pictures from the gooey chocolate moulds using a knife. The process makes an interesting video and the final pictures were uploaded onto Kit Kat’s Facebook page leading to increased social media interaction, which in turn also boosted the company’s SEO endeavours and the Kit Kat brand profile.
Image via Feel Desain
Limited edition brand packaging can have multiple advantages when used effectively to leverage a brand, not to mention of course increasing sales and profitability. It can also add greater perceived value to a brand’s existing core product range by making customers feel like they’re receiving something ‘really special’ with an added extra. It doesn’t just increase brand impact in the market, but it can also create an even greater demand for products by marking them with an exclusive tag, which its target audience consequently finds irresistible.
• What kind of limited edition packaging could your brand consider?
• Could you tie your limited edition packaging in with an appropriate significant event or occasion to amplify its significance?
• Who in your current target audience would be extremely attracted to a limited edition range of packaging for your brand?