Brand Packaging

The Future's So Bright

September 1, 2005

The Future’s So Bright
Jennifer Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief
When BRANDPACKAGING magazine was launched nearly 10 years ago, it was clear that this was a magazine that was ahead of its time. Marketers were beginning to understand and recognize the marketing impact of packaging, but the number of CPG companies that “got it”, as our staff likes to say, were still few and far between.
Proctor and Gamble has been one of the leaders in this regard and coined the phrase “first moment of truth” to describe the critical few seconds when a consumer notices a product on the shelf and makes the decision of what brand to purchase.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, P&G has taken steps to formalize this concept by creating the new position of Director of First Moment of Truth. Dina Howell, Director of FMOT, now heads a 15-person department charged with producing more effective packaging and in-store displays to win the consumer during those critical seconds at the shelf. Howell told the WSJ that she wants to take in-store marketing “from an art to a science.”
Key to the new strategy is a push to take advantage of in-store TV networks, which play spots for various products while consumers wait in line at checkout or make their way down the frozen food aisle. Also part of the arsenal are a variety of devices ranging from shelf talkers to on-floor graphics that gently nudge consumers as they navigate the store.
Packaging is also a critical component of P&G’s in-store promotion program and the company has reportedly developed a series of tests to gauge the effectiveness of its packaging in-store. According to the WSJ article, P&G has developed a set of questions that a package must answer: “Who am I? What am I? Why am I right for you?”
Obviously P&G is not inventing the wheel with the FMOT department and its efforts. But what the company has done is formalized—and further lent credibility to—the concept that packaging is a powerful tool to reach the consumer where critical decisions are made.
As we look back on how far we’ve come in the past 10 years, it’s clear that this is an industry whose time has come. This is an exciting time to be involved in the branding and design of consumer goods packaging, and, as the song says, the future’s so bright…well, you know the rest.