Package Design Is 'Dark Horse' Of Product Success: Nielsen

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Package Design Is 'Dark Horse' Of Product Success: Nielsen

Innovative package design is a driving force behind the most successful product launches in the last two years and marketers should take heed, research agency Nielsen announced Monday.

The latest edition of the annual 'Breakthrough Innovation Report' examined 9,900 product launches across Europe.

Eleven rose to the top, including products by Colgate, Air Wick and Whiskas, garnering €7.5 million in sales in their first year (€5 million in Eastern Europe) and holding on to at least 90% of that revenue in the second year.

Sixty percent of decision-making happens as customers mull over products on the shelf, and package design can be a major factor, Nielsen said.

"Package design is the dark horse of the marketing world. It receives little attention compared to other marketing disciplines, and its impact tends to be vastly underestimated," commented Ben Schubert from Nielsen’s Innovation Practice in Europe and co-author of the report. "Back-to-basics marketing such as how essential it is to stand out at the shelf has become slightly lost due to marketers’ increasing focus on where to advertise in a media-saturated world."


More than half of European consumers said that 'in-store discovery' is one of the top ways they learn about new products, compared to 45% for TV ads, he said.

The package design for Gold Mine Beer's Zhivoe, Russia's first premium unpasteurised beer, played up its short shelf life and freshness. The marketing team decided to create a bottle that mimicked a freshly-poured glass.

This tactic "forged a more visceral connection in consumers’ minds with the refreshing taste of draft beer and a bar-like situation," said Schubert. "It was so unlike traditional beer packaging that the bottle practically leapt off shelves and retailers actively began requesting to stock the product."

Cat food company Whiskas went for a more simple but still effective approach, using larger fonts, brighter colours, and clearer labelling of age ranges on its dry cat food.


In the home care product category, Air Wick changed to a more streamlined and 'cleanly designed' bottle to promote aerosol dispersion, avoiding customers' pet peeve of wet surfaces after spraying.

In the study, France provided three of the top 11, whereas Germany, Russia and Turkey manufactured two each; products from the UK and Italy rounded out the group.

© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Karen Henderson. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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