Canadian Packaging

Modern Drug-stores A New Hotbed Of Packaging Innovation


October 27, 2008
by Shaun Smith

When I was a kid, the neighborhood drug-store was a place people went to get their prescriptions filled, or to stock up on some toothpaste or suppositories. With the limited product range carried by these outlets, there simply wasn’t much else to be done there. The modern-day drug-store, however, is a totally different breed—carrying everything from old staples like deodorant to seasonal oddities like Halloween costumes, and even selling high-end consumer electronics like the Apple iPods. Not only has such progress injected a welcome dose of convenience into the busy consumers’ daily lives: it has also opened up a whole new venue for consumer packaged goods companies to show off their packaging savoir faire.

•••

While Aspirin has been one of the core products carried by any self-respecting pharmacy for as long as I can remember, some of its newest incarnations—such as the Aspirin Express Pack from Bayer Inc.—have really morphed beyond recognition, along with the packaging. Not that it’s a bad thing: just the opposite!

Whereas in the past Aspirin was just a bunch of little white pills in a bottle, this new product is a remarkable double-feat of product and package innovation, whereby 500-mg doses of cola-flavored granules are packed in small foil stick-pads that easily lay flat in one’s trouser pocket, are easy to open, and are totally waterproof. In fact, there’s no water involved at all: just rip open the stick-pack an pour the granules on your tongue, where they quickly dissolve. With the bright orange-and-silver graphics joyfully jazzing up the trusted Aspirin brand-name in large white letters, this is an inspired example of smart packaging design supporting groundbreaking product innovation.

•••

One of my long-time beefs with Krazy Glue—distributed by Elmer’s Products Canada—is that the glue remaining in the tube always seemed to dry up so quickly as to make it a one-shot product. So I’m very relieved to see this great product finally adopt the packaging to match. Packed in a plastic bottle with a resealable kid-proof lid, the new Krazy Glue Single-Use Tubes are tiny, half-milligram tubes measured to squirt out just the right amount of the stuff for a typical application, with the rest of the purchased glue remaining sealed air-tight inside the other three tubes. While there’s something to be said for the argument that having four tubes instead of one is rather wasteful, I don’t think it is any more wasteful than having had to throw away a large tube after a single use, with the bulk of the unused glue still inside the discarded container. Not even a hint of potential recyclability with that old package!