Why luxury packaging is more powerful than the products themselves – Robb Report
It’s a discovery that should baffle even the most rarefied palates. Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland recently published a study to see how price and packaging relate to consumers’ perception of wine quality. The results were surprising. The researchers commissioned 150 volunteers to sample three different wines, all Italian reds from 2013. One was a $ 70 bottle, delighted by connoisseurs, while another was an acceptable $ 40 vintage. The last was a vino da tavola, a $ 12 bargain unlikely to be on a sommelier’s radar. They also divided the volunteers into three groups.
The first was informed of the price of each wine by drinking it. The second tasted the three vintages blind. The third, and most interesting, drank the same wines and learned their details, much like Group # 1. In this case, however, the researchers lied about which wine was which. The first group rated them as expected, with a correlation between price and quality; the second judged them to be just as good. The results of the third, however, were the most intriguing – in particular, how the $ 12 bottle was valued. Those who were told it was worth $ 40 considered it the best of the three; no matter what price it was given, the cheap got 20% better results in taste tests overall.
It reminds us that the connection between cost and quality can be more of a shell game than most of us would like to admit. But the dynamic goes far beyond the suggestive power of the price. Luxury goods are presented to us through a savvy marketing lens, with brands deploying an array of tricks – from label design to color selection and even upcycling – to subconsciously suggest that their products are of. first class.
The label is the thing
When it comes to wine, no one is better placed to explain than Chuck House. For the past four decades, it has been the secret weapon of winemakers, the design talent behind the bottles of Turley, Ornellaia, Honig and more. His work is not intended to have shelf appeal, luring a casual consumer to grab a bottle from the local liquor store, but rather to glow in a cellar, reassuring collectors of their investment. These drawings, he said Robb Report, should act on someone like walking into a room and hearing Miles Davis on the radio. “You immediately know it’s him, even when he’s not playing, because there’s a nice open space out there that makes you want to jump.
House stumbled upon his specialty after a stint at a paint store in the 1970s in Northern California – he worked for a local record store in exchange for a vinyl. A music nerd colleague introduced him to another buddy nearby, who owned an upstart vineyard. The land was once a commercial frog farm, so he named it Frog’s Leap, hoping to achieve glory reflected in Stag’s Leap, which had triumphed at the judgment of Paris. “It was just as wine was becoming a salable commodity, a collecting phenomenon, not just for amateurs,” House recalls.
Chuck opted for a minimalist design – a sleek cartoon of a frog in black and white, an aftermarket label with a large negative space that would stand out from his often picky European counterparts. Monochrome would also perform well, he thought, when printed in newspaper advertisements. The wine was a hit almost overnight, as was House as a result. One day, while I was working in the studio, the phone rang and it was a richly accented Italian voice. “I saw the Frog’s Leap label,” the man said, “and wondered if you would be interested in doing something with my family?” The appellant was Lodovico Antinori, and the start of a decades-long partnership. It wasn’t long before House became the go-to design guru for much of the elite wine world. “I don’t have a business card. People just call one of the winemakers I work with and ask them “Who made your labels?”
The color of luxury
Certainly, as Chuck’s story shows, a clean, understated aesthetic – whether it’s a logo or a label – is an established luxury trope. It’s carried over into the line design: consider how Amazon keeps pages so crowded and cluttered, an unconscious suggestion that its products are the cheapest on the market (there’s no more reason to believe that, of course). The bright colors from Amazon and co are also a signal for reduction, according to Artur Obolenski, who works on luxury packaging for the Warsaw, Poland-based company. Packhelp. Every day, or value, brands will often opt for primary shades of yellow and red; darker colors are synonymous with luxury. Look at the lab tests asking volunteers to drink coffee and assess it, he notes. “When you pour it into different colored cups and ask customers to rate it, they put a higher price on what they drink in navy, black or brown cups than in yellow or red cups. . They also consider it more delicious.
If they don’t choose a dark shade by default, luxury brands might instead be looking to establish a signature color – perhaps even registering it with Pantone (see Tiffany Blue or Hermes Orange, for example). . Consultant Lisa Pomerantz has expertise in this area, having worked on such a program while he was a senior manager at Bottega Veneta. She helped develop a new brown – taupe, to be precise – who would be her non-verbal calling card. “The average consumer may not see it’s personalized, but you want to create something that no one else can copy,” she says. Robb Report. IIn other words, choose a color that is complex enough that imitators are expensive to reproduce profitably. en masse.
Pomerantz also spent time at Michael Kors, known for a signature khaki developed for the designer by famous art director Fabien Baron. times we’ve tried to replicate this khaki for different end uses, ”she says of websites, shopping bags and hang tags,“ but it was impossible to do and keep on budget. “
The rise of reusability
Luxury packaging, Pomerantz continues, is often intended for reuse – not recycled, but rather retained by a customer and redeployed. Watch the matches from the online fashion store for example; Pomerantz herself has a towering stack of heavy cardboard boxes used for delivery to her room. British luxury grocer Fortnum & Mason sells its edibles in tin cans. Apple packaging is often stored the same, of course. A gift that a box is meant to be kept and not recycled? Magnetic closures, says Obolenski of Packhelp. It’s also more expensive to create 90-degree corners in cardboard, he continues, so only high-end brands can afford to provide sharp edges for their boxes.
Such upcycling also synchronizes with the need for luxury brands to put more emphasis on sustainability than ever before. Ashleigh Hansberger is Co-Founder of Brand Consulting Motto. “Luxury [packaging] It used to be about having something on top and throwing it away – there was so much waste, ”she says,“ now it’s as much about function and utility, something you can reuse and reuse for keepsakes. Or a place to store your favorite wine, maybe.