Thursday, 4 September 2014

Cheap food, cheap design.

I have always been a value range shopper. Really, how much better can a 86p can of chopped tomatoes be than a 19p can? I don't really care that much abut the packaging either, even as a designer. However, this isn't the case for everyone.

Most supermarket's 'value ranges' main selling point is that they undercut named brands. I think throughout time they've persuaded themselves that to show this price drop they must have horribly plain and somewhat utilitarian designs. This started decades ago with Kwik Save's 'No Frills' brand. It even says it in the name. "Yes, you can have this can of beans for 7p but you also get this black and white label that tells the world how cheap you really are". This advertisment of your wealth puts some people off buying value ranges.

So why can't value ranges have some charm and engagement? Even 7 year old Harry Deverill spotted this marketing flaw. In the metro this week, it described how when eating his breakfast he asked his dad why his Brown sauce label looked so boring. His dad told him to write to Waitrose and to their amazement they wrote back saying that they completely agreed and would now be featuring Harry's own design.

That's why when Coley Porter Bell redesigned Morrison's value range in 2010 I was really impressed. The agency's research showed that consumers are embarrassed of having value products in their trolley. They hoped that the bright colours, comical illustrations and bespoke type-face would add an element of fun and I think they've done an amazing job. The new labels are so far removed from all the bland brands of years passed. It still looks plain and its consistency helps shoppers to identify that it is part of the value range but it does it while looking inviting and inspiring to the consumer.

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