Checkout – October 2010
Manly packaging to put hair on the chest
November 15, 2010
by Paul Pethick
Maybe it’s the recent start of the 2010/11 NHL hockey season, or maybe it’s the early whispers of a sequel to Sylvester Stallone’s summer ‘blow ’em up’ blockbuster The Expendables, but it just feels like it’s a good time to be a man—an impression that seems to be strongly reinforced out in the retail world with a steady stream of new, manworthy consumer packaging reawakening our primal instincts and appetites. Every true man is entitled to growl now and then, which is exactly what I did recently when stumbling across this 1.89-liter Growler of beer from the good folks at the Mill St. Brewery in Toronto. While this heavyweight behemoth does require some interior refrigerator redesign to make room, being done in the name of beer makes it all the more worthwhile. Not only will this oversized glass stud provide a steady supply of suds to keep one covered through the Sunday football marathon on television, its well-designed twist-off cap will keep any remaining beer fresh long into the work-week. True beer connoisseurs will rejoice at the apparent comeback of the growler container after a prolonged hiatus, with its consumer-friendly two-finger handle paying due homage to the old-school moonshine jugs that gave the North American temperance movements such fits back in the late 19th and the early 20th century.
No man can live by beer alone for too long, alas, but simply being a man is no excuse for not being able to enjoy a well-balanced healthy meal—despite the widespread lack of culinary skills among our species that sometimes limit our dining options to the short round-trip between the freezer and the microwave oven. If that’s the case, than the Healthy Choice Gourmet Steamers line of 292-gram frozen entrées from ConAgra Foods Canada Inc. is an inspired and tasty option each and every time, in large part thanks to the product’s use of the innovative Unique DuoTray Steamcooker heating system that really brings the original flavors of the frozen food and ingredients to life in a straightforward manner whereby you sou simply pop the product in the microwave for a few minutes, remove the top tray which holds the pasta, meat and veggies, mix the steamed goodies into the sauce in the bottom tray and voilà—cooking made easy! But it isn’t just the inner packaging ingenuity that makes this product a hit in this corner: the well-designed octagonal outer paperbox is also easy on the eyes and the mind, with its printed promises of iron-rich nutritional content and “no artificial flavors.”
A man can be as cold and hard as Charles Bronson in one of his more vengeful moods, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a sensitive side, which was the main motivation for a recent purchase of an eight-pack of Schick Xtreme3 Sensitive disposable razors and a can of Edge Ampt Defiance shaving gel. Full credit where credit is due to the brand-owner—Walkerton, Ont.-based Energizer Canada Inc.—for managing to tweak run-of-the-mill, industry-standard packaging in some novel ways. The Xtreme3 package, for example, makes clever use of back-panel space to pack in the contents without encroaching on the stylishly designed front panel displaying the product through a clear-plastic window, along with some sharp graphics highlighting the razor’s features. Moreover, the peel-away top construction means that I no longer need to pack a blade on my end to get at the razors, which is often the case with some of the standard hard-plastic clamshell package designs. And while the Edge Ampt gel container looks a lot like many of its competitors, the addition of a little Scratch N Sniff circle to show off the product’s scent is a stroke of consumer-friendly genius.
While I consider myself to be a lucky man to have a wife that will sometimes wear one of my shirt just to get a whiff of my ‘man scent,” wife has worn one of my shirts just to smell my “man scent,” I can’t really blame he for refusing to go anywhere near my sneakers. Most of the time, they stink to high heavens! Always the peacemaker, I recently picked up a pack of Sneaker Balls—manufactured by the Morrisville, N.C.-based Implus Footcare, LLC—and I’ve been breathing a little easier in regards to any outstanding odor issues ever since. While there’s nothing truly remarkable about the packaging per se—a transparent plastic clamshell wrapped around two odor-blasting balls—the sheer simplicity of such “you get exactly what you see’ sales pitch is a refreshing departure in itself, capably aided with some clever space-age graphics on the front and witty instruction on the back panel proclaiming their virtues as “the only-air fresheners with the moxie to tackle the inside of a sneaker, bag or locker—where the ugly stuff grows!” That’s music to any man’s ears.
Paul Pethick is a copy editor and writer at InViVo Communications Inc., a provider of media-based healthcare services based in Toronto.