Friday, February 17, 2006

Is Your Package A Candidate For The "Oyster" Award?

Is your package a candidate for the "oyster" award? According to Consumer Reports, this is not a good thing. The March issue of Reports lambastes the packaging industry for a variety of faults in product packaging. It even identifies which packages they consider to be among the worst. To its credit, the article does show examples of new and improved packaging of the so-called problem child packaging. Not surprisingly much of it revolves around the difficulty of opening and closing packages, especially clamshells. This is a notoriously thorny issue.

Consider these factors about your package to determine if it is an "Oyster award" candidate.
• Is your package so difficult to open that expletives are uttered during the process?• Can a customer get cut by the packaging material while opening?
• Does opening the package require an additional implement such as scissors?
• Does your package have excessive twist ties?
• Will parents hate you after they have opened the package?

This isn't the first time problem packaging has surfaced. I always see stories on the subject after Christmas and the holidays. When I do I send the reporter a copy of my white paper, "A Bad Wrap for Packaging," in an effort to open some eyes. A couple of years ago, I even did a segment for NBC TV about the trials and tribulations of toy packaging. My role was to explain why toys are packaged tin a particular manner. The piece ended with consumers ripping and tearing their way through the boxes. Needless to say, despite my best efforts the package came out on the bad side of the equation.

Numerous new gadgets have surfaced to make it easier to open packages. The OpenX and the Pyranna, to name two, are specifically designed to open plastic clam shells. If I were a smart marketer, I would bundle one of the gadgets ($5-10 retail) along with my product and solve the problem. With the opening device available on the package, there would be no reason for complaints about how hard the package is to open.

I get so tired of hearing about bad packaging. Sure, much of it is difficult to open but guess what? The consumers drive the issues about making the packages hard to open. They are concerned with product integrity, tampering, pilfering, and counterfeiting to name a few. These are just a few of the reasons the packages are difficult to open. They have to be secure to protect the product and keep it safe.

Knowing that the customer is always right, we must realize that opening packages is an issue that needs to be addressed especially when we consider our growing population of those over 50. If you have a success story about your product packaging that you made easier to open, please send it to me and I'll collate the responses and provide a report of the solutions. Email me at


Blogger Triplet Dads said...

I'd like to nominate for the oyster award. not only do they put their product in a package that requires steel scissors to open, they don't tell you that this is a CD inside so you'd better not cut it open with scissors. their packaging people should be fired.

9:57 AM  

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