Friday, October 27, 2006

Packaging: A Cause For Profit

Packaging News You Can Use Tip Of The Week
Issue #1260 - October 26, 2006
Publisher: JoAnn Hines ,
© Packaging News You Can UseBy JoAnn Hines The Packaging Diva

FROM THE DIVA'S READERS: Walking loudly and carrying a big stick by Wendy Jedlicka, CPP

SO -- did my last note about Wal-Mart's points system (score card) announcement from the Sustainable Packaging Forum make you take-notice? If it didn't -- you weren't paying attention. When the elephant in the room decides to get up and move, everyone needs to pay attention. The new points system means both buyers and vendors alike will be judged on how they measure-up to goals Wal-Mart is establishing or itself for both near and long term change.

Like the elephant, Wal-Mart's moves are not always going to be pretty, and some will be crushed by them. Is it nice? No. Is it needed? Oh. my yes. In the ever more rapid drive to the bottom, to meet the "Lowest Price Guarantee", vendors cut corners and leverage every advantage possible. Though all perfectly legal (in the country they are leveraged in) many of these advantages offer short-term profits but create greater long-term costs -- usually for the environment and health/well-being of workers and their communities. To get the rest of Wendy's report email me at

IN RESPONSE TO MY ARTICLES:"The Perils of Packaging Junk Food"Marketers roll out healthier, vegetable-based snacksUSA Today - USA... Product tracker Mintel has counted 45 veggie snack rollouts in the past year, says Lynn Dornblaser, director of customer solutions. ...

"What's In Your Bottle"Bling H20 Is More Than Just A Pretty Face, But Would You Pay For a Bottle?

At $35 a bottle, Bling H20 is no ordinary water. The runway model-like thin, tall, frosted glass bottle is a fashion statement. Each 750ml bottle is handcrafted, corked, and decorated with exquisite Swarovski Crystals. Couture water? Sure, this product is positioned to target the ever expanding super-luxury consumer market.

THE DIVA'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK:How can I find out the latest information about Wal-Mart and its packaging mandates? Good news! if you want to package products for Wal-Mart be sure and check out the latest information on packaging archived at

FEATURE ARTICLE:Packaging: A Cause For Profit by JoAnn Hines Packaging DivaRecently I wrote the article “How to Package a Cause to Sell More Products.” It was one of my most popular ones. If you missed it you can read it archived at As it turns out many new companies are jumping on the "cause marketing" bandwagon in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Right now breast cancer is the most popular cause used at market because it is October and it can be closely identified with marketing to women. (80% purchaser and decision maker.)

So companies are thinking it’s a win-win to both audiences. Yoplait has been supporting breast cancer for a number of years; in fact I spoke about it at the Marketing to Women Conference last year. It is important to recognize the fact that not all women are swayed by supporting a cause in their purchasing decision. It’s more complicated than just slapping a new (pink) label on the package.

A recent example of campaigns that are working include: Campbell Soup which made some tremendous profits with their changed design of their red and white cans to pink with ribbons in support of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an initiative that has resulted in the doubling of its sales to its biggest retailer.

There are lots of "limited" edition products being introduced in hope that you will be swayed into purchasing them in support of a good cause. In fact the proliferation of "pink" products since last year is quite amazing. Even NASCAR is getting in on the action. Remember my article “What Can NASCAR Teach Us about Packaging?” Well, VIVA® Towels debuted a pink race car in the NASCAR Busch Series as part of partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Look at this extended group of product offerings from The Republic of Tea'm not sure how much they are donating but what a great range of "cause marketing" packaging. You can capitalize through product packaging on other causes too. In fact you can create ongoing cause marketing campaigns throughout the year with a little creative license.

But be sure and consider this: There are two sides to this issue: companies that really believe in supporting the cause (ask for my article "It's Easy Being Green - Packaging Your Green Brand") for which they are endorsing and developing pink products AND companies that are just using a cause as a marketing gimmick to sell more product. Many people question the amount of money that is actually donated. Is it insignificant compared to the profits made during a special cause marketing campaign? I think the issue revolves around the words "a portion of the profits" and that varies from company to company.

But whatever your opinion -- whether you are induced to make a purchase or to support a cause -- packaging for cause marketing is here to stay. The question is can you make it profitable for your company to support this endeavor. Will your customer, the ultimate decision maker, look at your company in a favorable light or be turned off because they think you are out there to make a quick buck?

For more insights on how to package a product for a cause come to the Packaging Bootcamp at or contact the Packaging Diva via email at or by phone at 1-678-594-6872.

THE DIVA'S PICKS OF THE WEEK:Remember what you don't know can hurt you.Target Stores Refuse to Address Toxic Products and Packaging Linked to Cancer and Birth Defects

More than 60 Health & Environmental Organizations Urge Target to Join Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Other Retailers in Phasing Out Dangerous PVC (Vinyl) Toys, Shower Curtains and Other Products and Packaging

China woman richest on paperInternational Herald Tribune - FranceAP. SHANGHAI The wealthiest person in China prospered by turning recycled paper from the United States into Chinese packaging products - and like many fellow ...

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Perils Of Packaging Junk Food

Packaging News You Can Use
Tip Of The Week
Issue #1259 - October 19, 2006
Publisher: JoAnn Hines ,
© Packaging News You Can Use
By JoAnn Hines The Packaging Diva

This from colleague Wendy Jedlicka reporting on the Sustainable Packaging Forum...
The BIG news: Wal-Mart is instituting a "points" system -- rather like a carrot with a HUGE stick attached. They're not going to "tell" anyone how to achieve Wal-Mart's sustainability goals (so as not to "inhibit innovation"), but if your "points" don't add up, they'll find someone who will. They also "say" they'll look at solutions that cost more per unit, but offer systemic profit advantages (like increases in energy savings, or back-end substrate sales). This remains to be seen, as their product buyers are still waaaaay under supported for out-of-the-box thinking. Look for more from Wendy soon on this issue. Wendy can be reached at for more insights at

"Has Your Packaging Gone To The Dogs"
Unilever and Mars have created the first real ice cream sandwich formulated especially for dogs. This product joins a plethora of newly launched products designed to reach the homes of pampered pooches. Way to go Sparky.

"Produce Packaging Crisis"
Lettuce from Salinas Valley recalled over E. coli concerns
San Jose Mercury News - CA, USA
... and "Green Leaf 18 Count, cellophane sleeve, returnable carton." Packaging is stamped ... the E. coli found in spinach that has sickened nearly 200 people and has ...

Yipee, I made the NYT. Thanks to Gail at Making Bread Magazine http://www.makingbreadmagazine in being the first person to let me know she saw me quoted in the NYT. See the complete article at

I'm designing packaging for a children's product that will need to be imported from the factory in China. How can I find a checklist of requirements for the packaging so it doesn't get stuck in customs?"

A special thanks to Edie Tolchin - EGT Global Trading "The Sourcing Lady"(SM) for answering this question. You may see her answers at

The Perils of Packaging Junk Food by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva

We all know that headlines can put a scare into manufactures and processors, but lately it seems the food industry is being bombarded with positioning and marketing statements about the role of food in healthy eating and lifestyles. I, in fact, spoke about the growth and potential of this market at the Health and Beauty America (HBA) in my presentation "Boomers Are a Booming Business." Believe it or not, healthy lifestyles are an important issue to Boomers.

Just look at other food examples of a media blitz, such as the recent spinach crisis, to see how one out of control incident dramatically impacts your business. Literally over night people stopped eating spinach and restaurants changed their menus and replaced it with things like Arugula (by the way it isn't bad). OK, but what about the poor spinach grower? Be sure and read my article “Produce Packaging Crisis" available at

On another front what's new with Wal-Mart in the packaging world? The media loves/hates Wal-Mart. Every week there is a new position statement that gets mixed reviews: both pro and con. The results resonate within the business community. Wal-Mart is what I call a "retail driver" and should be considered an "early indicator." It can force other businesses and industries to follow suit in whatever they determine is the "hot" industry button of the week. Be sure and read more in the Diva's Picks Of The Week about Wal-Mart.

Now companies like Disney are getting into the fray with a line in the sand on "Junk Food." The have already started distancing themselves with purveyors like McDonalds and this week The Walt Disney Company introduced new healthy food guidelines which will soon apply to all licensed Disney products. This means anything you provide that has the Disney brand is subject to these new guideline. So look out for mandates, restrictions and instructions on any thing that has to do with product packaging if you want to do business with them.

You might remember that I wrote about this a while back, “The Perils of Packaging Making You Fat. Ha, ha. I may be a prophet because companies like Disney and Wal-Mart recognize the sign in the market and they can certainly put a strain on your piggy bank if you are one of their vendors

So where does this leave you? Waiting for the ax to fall? Or are you staying on top of industry trends and drivers that impact what and how we buy? I hope you read my newsletter each week. I watch what will drive the consumer of the future and how it will impact the packaging community. My forecasts on packaging trends usually turn mainstream about six months down the road.

So why do you need the Packaging Diva on your team? I write about this stuff before it becomes a major issue. I keep apprised of what's happening. Most people are too busy doing their jobs to stay informed in timely fashion. As a result, you can look to me for the latest industry trends, technologies and issues.

Speaking of trends....If you plan on selling ANYTHING you better have the right packaging. You have invested in your product, don't stop short of the finish line and leave out the most important component: the PACKAGE. Spend half a day with me, the #1 consumer products expert and learn the nuts and bolts of product packaging and the necessary fundamentals of packaging your product to sell.

Before you ask why you need this workshop think about this: without a package you can't have sell a product. You want to sell your product - RIGHT?

Get a refresher course on packaging basics, meet new clients, or simply have your product packaging critiqued by me JoAnn Hines, the Packaging Diva. Attend the accelerated learning course Packaging Boot Camp is filled with years of insights and expertise crammed into a four hour intensive workshop. Find out more here

What Wal-Mart Wants Wal-Mart gets, well almost
Wal-Mart grows 'green' strategies USA Today - USA
... powerful signal that already is having effects on the way people produce products ... before," says Matt Kistler, vice president of product and packaging innovation ...

Wal-Mart to Reduce Packaging Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
... In the latest effort to polish its environmental record, the world's largest ... its 600,000 global suppliers to find more efficient packaging methods, estimates ...,1,566856.story?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=1&cset=true

The Organic Myth
Pastoral ideals are getting trampled as organic food goes mass market
Next time you're in the supermarket, stop and take a look at Stonyfield Farm yogurt. With its contented cow and green fields, the yellow container evokes a bucolic existence, telegraphing what we've come to expect from organic food: pure, pesticide-free, locally produced ingredients grown on a small family farm.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Packaging Boot Camp For Entreprenueurs, Small Business and Inventors

You have a product - RIGHT?
You need a package - RIGHT?

You realize your package is your best sales agent – RIGHT?
You know nothing or very little about packaging - RIGHT?

You have no idea where to start - RIGHT?

That's what this workshop is all about. It has been designed to give you the nuts and bolts for packaging. It offers all of the fundamentals necessary to package your product to sell.

Before you ask why you need this workshop think about this: without a package you can't have or sell a product.

You want to sell your product - RIGHT?

If you plan on selling ANYTHING you better have the right packaging. The package is vital to your product’s success. You have invested in your product, don’t stop short of the finish line and leave out the most important component.
Spend half of a day with the Packaging Diva, the number one consumer products packaging expert, and learn how to package your product for sales success.

Session 1: What Is a Package Anyway?
· How can I use it to market my product?
· What packaging materials are available?
· What is the role of product packaging?

Session 2: Packaging’s Pesky Problems
· How should I package my product?
· How do I find a vendor for small quantities?
· Can I use prestige packaging on a shoestring budget?

Session 3: Understanding the Consumer
· What do consumers want on their product packaging?
· What will make a consumer pick your product up off the shelf?
· How can I differentiate my product packaging?

The Makeover Wrap-up:
Bring your concept, product or your package and get up close and personal with the Packaging Diva. She will give you her expert opinion on what's right and wrong with your packaging.

Who Should Attend
Small businesses, inventors, entrepreneurs . . . anyone who has a product that they want to sell.

Date – November 8.
Time - 8:00 - 12:00 noon
Place: Chattahoochee Technical College
980 South Cobb Drive Bldg H
Marietta, GA 30066
Fee: DISCOUNT -- $195 Advance Registration by Oct. 30 -- $245 by November 7.
To register call 770-528-4550.
For more information email
Fees must be paid in advance to secure a registration.

Packaging Boot Camp is also for you if you reply “yes” to any of the following statements:
· I need a better package for my products.
· I want my package to capture the consumers’ interest.
· I plan to sell my product to major retailers.

Don't delay. Register early. The number of participants will be limited to ensure a productive learning experience.

Can't make Ft. Lauderdale? This program will be repeated in Atlanta on November 8 at Chattahoochee College. Email for more details.

About the Instructor

JoAnn Hines, the Packaging Diva, has more than 30 years of expertise in the packaging industry.She has been interviewed on TV and radio, traveled to China as a packaging summit guide, worked with the Small Business Administration (SBA), and spoken at the White House (twice). Why do clients seek her out? They flock to her because she knows how to package products so that people will buy them. When Faith Popcorn made her business trend predictions for 2006, she called JoAnn to find out what was going on in the world of packaging. Businesses large and small call upon the Diva to solve their packaging problems and to ensure that their packages work to sell the product.

JoAnn’s advice and articles appear in virtually every US packaging industry publication, numerous business and international publications, and on many website portals. She is an accomplished author, speaker, publisher, marketer, and e-commerce expert. She has received numerous leadership awards and among other honors was named "One of the 50 most influential packaging leaders in the 20th century." She is the founder of Women in Packaging, Packaging Horizons Magazine, Packaging Career Hotline, Packaging Coach, Packaging Diva and Packaging University.

In her true take charge style, JoAnn is harnessing her many years of expertise to share it in an innovative workshop, Packaging Boot camp. This hands-on curriculum allows participants to get up close and personal with the Diva and provides ample time to pick the Diva’s brain for solutions to packaging issues and answers to the package’s sales ability.

Member: Georgia Inventors Association; United Inventors Association; Institute Of Packaging Professionals Consultants Council

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Marketing Showdown: Mainstream Methods 0 – Packaging 10

Marketing Showdown: Mainstream Methods 0 – Packaging 10
Packaging News You Can Use
Tip Of The Week
Issue #1258 - October 5, 2006
Publisher: JoAnn Hines ,
© Packaging News You Can Use
By JoAnn Hines The Packaging Diva

The Packaging Bootcamp is now a reality. If you have a product and you want it to sell, you better have the right package with the right message. After all what's on the outside is as important as what's inside. If your package the silent salesperson doesn't do its job your product won't sell not matter how good it might be.

Need to know more how to package products to sell? Learn from the #1 consumer product packaging expert and let her share her 30+ years of packaging expertise with tips, insights and innovations. Visit http://www.packagingbootcamp/ or email

"Eat Your Package Not Your Product"
Utek's latest tech transfer: edible packing film
Tampa Bay Business Journal - Tampa,FL,USA
In addition IPTI contains a license for a variable image packaging film that can potentially double the viewable surface area of packaging products by allowing ...

"Produce Packaging Crisis"
Ohio family sickened by tainted spinach sues packaging company
San Luis Obispo Tribune - San Luis Obispo,CA,USA
... Health officials tracking the source of the E. coli outbreak from spinach has sickened at least 175 people nationwide are focusing on Natural Selection Foods ...

"100 Calorie Snacks Smart or Stupid"
Serving Up Confusion on Nutrition
Forbes - USA
... that help people size up a serving. Chips, crackers, cookies and pudding now come in handy 100-calorie packs, and single-serving packaging has exploded in ...

Several publications have written some great stories with Moi quoted.
To read "Design for the Ages" by Leah Genuario click here
To read "Product Makovers Annoy" by Betty Lin-Fisher click here
P.S. If you see me in the New York Times (I was interviewed yesterday,)
let me know. I'll make it worth your time to respond.

Marketing Showdown: Mainstream Methods 0 – Packaging 10
by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva

Mainstream marketing and advertising is dying. That's the cue for packaging to step up to the plate and take its rightful place as a powerful product marketing and branding tool. "Ad Age" recently reported that a newly released book reports that 37% of all advertising is wasted. Quite frankly, I agree. I have been studying this issue for a while and examining advertising/marketing messages (especially on packaging) and it is apparent that the new generation of advertising is weak.

Every time I see a new campaign I wonder at whom it is aimed. Most the time it is totally unclear who the product is for. Despite all that is being written about marketing to various demographic groups, the advertisers and marketers still don’t get it. And, the results are noticeable.

Some marketers are trying off-the-wall marketing campaigns. Just look at the demise of Dr. Z. Think about how much money was spent for an advertising campaign that didn't work. Every product (well almost) has a package and almost everyone has engaged in some type shopping experience. So who is your target audience and how can you reach them now that conventional methods aren't working? Smart marketers will get busy looking at their product packaging and determining how to make it "connect" with the consumer.

The prime consumers are women and seniors, for the most part, and they are continually overlooked in product packaging. Companies that do reach out to this audience typically fall back on preconceived marketing stereotypes. Pink packaging for women and silver or purple for seniors is a major no-no. These markets are enormous yet they are totally underserved and misunderstood by consumer goods manufacturers and their product packaging.

The important issue to recognize is that the package is in a position of power to capture a consumer at the first point of contact in a retail environment. It's "the first moment of truth" whether your package will connect with your buyer -- or not. It's no longer enough to simply describe what's inside the box. That idea will sink in the sea of sensory overload of competitive products.

The package needs to "engage" the consumer by clearly stating value, benefits and reasons why a consumer should make the purchase. How will purchasing the product make someone's life easier? How easy or convenient is it to use? How does it mesh with the consumer’s lifestyle? And most importantly, what's in it for the consumer once they make the purchase?

So think about to whom you are marketing. What are their needs and expectations of your product? How you can make an emotional connection with the consumer? Whether it is women or seniors or any other target demographic, you have to entice them to make the purchase. Remember, it’s not enough just to say what's inside. You need a compelling message that will engage a consumer to pick your product up off the shelf. It’s that critical --- 2.6 seconds and then you have lost them.

Be prepared for your product packaging to fill the void left by mainstream marketers who aren't connecting their products to consumers with the right message. Forget the stereotypes of product marketing. They aren't working. Remember the package has the power to fill the void and send the message loud and clear!

For more insights on the hottest and most important issues in packaging call me at 1-678-594-6872 or email me at

It's now a reality
Wal-Mart Launches 5-Year Plan to Reduce Packaging
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. today announced plans to measure its 60,000 worldwide suppliers on their ability to develop packaging and conserve natural resources.

I love this one!
Packaging crap
Digit Magazine - London,UK
... rogue has lit upon the idea of overcharging for rubbish by wrapping it up in some nicely designed packaging. 
If the package looks pretty, people will buy

I wish they would stop calling it cardboard.

Cardboard war gets more intense on several fronts
The Age - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia
... This is the latest in an increasingly complex series of cases that have entangled Australia's two biggest packaging groups since 2004, when Amcor told the ...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

5 Things Every Business Needs To Know About Packaging

When you are getting started it's so hard to understand the integral role packaging has to play in marketing and selling your product. Put simply, it’s one of the most important product decisions you will have to make. There is a universe of packaging suppliers, materials and even regulations. Not to be overwhelmed, it is easy to navigate if you take it one step at a time. It is a process just like any other component in product development. They key is to know which packaging factors will influence your product’s success -- or failure.

Here are 5 vital things you need to know as you start on your journey that packages your product to sell.

1. You can't have a product without a package.
Just think about potato chips and eggs for example. How could you sell them unbroken and undamaged without a package? You have to be able to transport a product from point A to point B. The package is what makes it happen. Even if your product is not fragile, it can't get into the buyers hands in a shop worn condition. Consumers will NEVER buy it.

It’s interesting how packaging is evolving. In many cases, there would be no product without the package. Take something as simple as toothpaste. Whether it's in a tube or in a pump the package plays an integral role in making this product work. It is so ordinary that many people never stop to consider this fact: Where would toothpaste be without a package?

So ask yourself these questions: Is your product going to need a package that is part of the actual product? Or will the packaging be more of a protective device to convey the product?
Whatever the answer might be, it's time to start thinking about how the packaging is going to impact both shipping and merchandising.

2. The package could cost more than what is inside.
The rule of thumb is that the package should be 8-10% of the total cost on average. 10% of every dollar spent at retail is directly attributable to packaging. But that cost can vary dramatically with the product being packaged. The proportion of cost is lower with high ticket items and higher with commodity items as well as products in which the packaging is a bigger component than the product itself.

Let’s talk potato chips again. Packaging is a much higher cost in an item like this. You have a few chips and a bag but don't forget that besides the bag there is a master shipping carton that contains the bags of chips. This is one of the hidden costs that many people overlook.

So think about not only the primary package (the one that is going to be seen at retail) but any other packaging materials that you will require to transport, ship or convey your product to its ultimate destination unbroken, not damaged, not tampered with and arriving in pristine condition.

3. Your package has to sell the product not just protect it.
The average consumer spends just 2.6 second making a decision whether to pick up your product or not. So your packaging better be on target to the right audience with the right message. Just stroll through any retail outlet that merchandises similar products to yours. Overwhelmed by the competition? You Bet!

And that's just the beginning. Who is going to buy your product? Do you know? Are you aware of what language, colors, design and packaging materials that appeals to your target demographic? This can make or break whether your product sells or not. Ask yourself who do I want to buy my product and what packaging attributes will appeal to them?

4. Most packaging materials suppliers require large quantity orders.
It’s hard to find a supplier for small quantities. The double edged sword is that you don’t have large orders when getting started. The number one question I am asked is how to find a vendor for small quantities. In many cases, this can be a challenge but it is not impossible.

I know you have this exotic design concept on your head that's just going to WOW them at retail. The reality is that in many cases you will have to start with stock packaging items that you can customize. As you get more orders or are able to order in larger quantities you can upgrade your packaging designs.

Don’t be discouraged. The stock design world has come a long way with innovative designs and materials. With a little innovation and creativity, you can have that prestige look on a start up pocketbook.

5. Packaging trends and innovations can influence whether your product will ever get onto the stores shelf. In January of every year, I write a trends piece about where I believe the packaging industry is going for the year. This covers not only the hottest packaging trends and innovations but outside influences that can drive the retail industry. Many influences can be outside of your control. The secret is in knowing what is going to be the "issue" of the future or what might be mandated as a "must have" in your product packaging.

There are external factors that can dramatically change what the consumer wants or demands in their product packaging. What do you know about RFID, product integrity and product security, bio-resins and bio-plastics, environmental sustainability, smart or intelligent packaging? If you are like most inventors the answer is not much. But these packaging concerns are the wave of the future. Chances are one or more of these factors will be discussed when your try to get a buyer to commit to carrying your product.

Many requirements mandated but big box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot drive smaller retailers in the same direction.

I'm not trying to scare or overwhelm you with decisions that you are not prepared to make. I am trying to point out a few of the facts you will need to be aware of and consider in product packaging. The time to address these issues is at the point when you prepare your product for market not at the end when many times it’s too late.

Make your product packaging among the first decisions you make with your idea -- not your last. If you need more guidance, check out my packaging websites or come to my Packaging Boot Camp which will answer your "How Do I" packaging questions.
Visit for more information.