Canadian Packaging

User-friendly Packaging Often Easier Said Than Done

January 8, 2010
by Sarah Harper

Shopping for anything these days has become a daunting task for many consumers, who often seem to be overwhelmed by the overabundance of purchasing options available to them for any given product. Could it be that there really is such a thing as having too much choice? Personally, I often find my mind starting to drift off when scanning the crowded store-shelves these days, with the plethora of products fighting for my immediate attention making me forget what I was looking for in the first place. Naturally, this places a heavy burden on brand marketers to pay increased attention to the way their brands are packaged. Does the packaging catch the eye? Is it biodegradable, recyclable, or environmentally-friendly in some other way? Does it keep the product fresh longer? All these considerations have a role to play, but in my personal experience at least, it’s the user-friendliness of the package that is ultimately a defining element in nurturing meaningful brand loyalty—especially when it comes to everyday hygiene and personal-care products.

The Proactiv Solution Make Up Removing Cloths from dermatology specialists Rodan & Fields, LLC—pre-moistened face cloths for removing dirt and make-up on the go—are a delightfully user-friendly product for those of us who like to travel a bit. With virtually no liquids allowed in carry-on luggage on long-distance flights these days, this resealable pouch offers a perfect way for regular Proactive face-cleansing system users to save their faces from acne breakouts during long flights, weekend retreats, or anywhere else where proper bathroom facilities are not readily available or accessible.

Unlike many other resealable packages that rely on a zipper to open and close the product contents, this one utilizes a cleverly-design plastic lid that easily opens up without actually coming apart from the rest of the package, folding off and snapping back into place when done. It may seem like a little  thing, but it is often the little things that kill, and accidentally losing a cap would mean a certain premature end for this product’s shelf-life.

In stark contrast, the packaging for Clean & Clear Make Up Dissolving Facial Cleansing Wipes from Johnson & Johnson leaves a lot to be desired, at least in my humble opinion. I’m not sure why someone decided that using an adhesive-based flap as a closure for a package of pre-moistened wipes was such a good idea, since it doesn’t really work that well in terms of optimal product protection.

Given that the whole purpose of a product like this is the convenience of on-the-go portability, this package is really not a good candidate for just tossing into your gym bag, purse or carry-on luggage. It would probably sustain itself well enough sitting on a shelf in a bathroom cabinet in splendid isolation, without touching anything else, but it hardly makes for a good traveling companion. All it takes is for one little thing to make its way under the seal to ruin the package integrity and have the product contents start an irreversible process of drying out before they can get used. When every penny counts, throwing out a product before using it all up is a luxury many consumers simply cannot afford these days.

On the other hand, the packaging for Olay Definity Intense Hydrating Cream from Procter & Gamble (P&G) definitely has a lot of the ‘Cool’ factor going for it—especially the plastic outer shell that uses an ingenious plastic pull-tab at the bottom to release the primary package inside right into the palm of your hand at will.

The inside package itself is also a marvel of simplicity: a small, molded plastic tub—requiring no pumping, squeezing, shaking, etc.—with twist-off lid that easily comes off to let you dab your finger inside to get a scoop of the cream. Frankly, this may well be the perfect way for packaging all moisturizing cream products, especially the pricier ones. Not only are you assured of being able to use virtually every last bit of the product, the tub’s solid construction also allays fears of product leakage during travel, which is what happens with many packages that use pumps or similar dispenser mechanisms.

Seriously folks: Just how many different types of deodorants and antiperspirants do we really need? There’s roll-ons, spray-ons, soft-solids, gels, solids and other formulations in just about every scent under the sun out there these days! Hardly necessary, is it? For one thing, I doubt that many of the roll-on solid stick deodorants would be missed all that much if they were to suddenly disappear. Sure, it’s all well and good when you’re just starting on a fresh new stick, but it is all too easy to become enraged when you remove the lid of the container just to have the last remaining chunk of the antiperspirant launch itself across the room in an unusable heap. You just know you’re in for a long day if you don’t happen to have a spare one ready to go. Which is why the Secret Scent Expressions from P&G is such a breath of fresh air, with its modified, curvy contours and shape coming together is perfect ergonomic harmony to eliminate the risk of the flying pit stick once and for all. A little thing, again, but one that has made a huge difference for this shopper since I started using this product.