Made The Way You - Hills Pet Food

We get it. We also do design work for our clients.  From packaging to direct Hills Flyer June 2015 mail to billboards to flyers.  And, yes, we've made an error or two in the years that we've been at it. (Once we failed to spell an ingredient correctly in on a tiny list on the back of a bag.) So, yes...we understand that mistakes happen and not only to small advertising agencies like ours or maybe even in your business.

The image here is from a direct mail piece that came in the Sunday Des Moines Register. If you look at it carefully you're left with a question: "Made the way you...would what?"

This happens when text boxes are left out of the final design and print run. So, how do you make sure something like this doesn't happen, even if you don't have a staff?  Some tips:

  • Pass It Around - Often the person who writes the copy is expected to proof the copy. Big mistake because often writers may "think" they included the information and on proofing just don't see it.  Pass the piece around to others to review;
  • Print Run - We nearly always demand that if the printing is done locally that somebody from here is at the print run to check color, layout, bleeds, etc. It takes some extra time but worth it;
  • Create a Mock-Up - What we see on a computer screen often just isn't the same as holding the actual print piece. So before it goes to press create a mock-up so you can handle, circle changes, etc.
  • One More Time - We've even gone so far as to take a technical item out of the office for a review from another technical writer.  Again, it might take some time but perhaps he/she might find a goof.

Speaking of Goofs - Before writing this we posted the image on our Facebook Page and asked folks to see if they "noticed anything odd". Many didn't but, once it was pointed out it was, to some, a "brand ding". A negative impact of the brand seemed a little harsh but, for some folks...that may be all it takes. 

Take a little extra time...and thanks for reading!


Good Enough to Eat?

One of the things we do at Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is create packaging for our clients. It's more Tide Pods Packaging than just slapping on some text and a photo it takes time, research and some talent to create a design that consumers gravitate toward.

Sometimes it works too well.

Proctor & Gamble Co. has had to redesign the packaging for Tide Pods because (ready?) were eating the detergent.  It seems that poison centers had seen an uptick in the number of calls saying kids had ingested pod detergent products made by various companies.  Why?  Because the packaging made them look like candy...right down to the container that resembled a candy bowl.

Now that is packaging!

When the products started appearing on the shelves we thought to ourselves, "Great packaging but it looks like something to eat!"  Funny nobody at P&G and other firms noticed.

The new packaging will be opaque and the pods from P&G will be less "colorful" in an attempt to dissuade kids from popping a pod in their mouths.

The power of packaging...




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Looking at Packages...

Part of what we do is create packaging for our clients. Yep, it's
advertising agencies who design the stuff on the shelves and there is a Miller Lite Ball real science in what goes on labels, cans, bottles and packages.  When we see things we think to ourselves, "Hmmm...wonder what that cost the client?" In addition, we notice some subtle differences/changes that seem to match up with what consumers are requesting or at least think they are requesting.

For example, here is a can of Miller Lite made for the brewer by Ball. Bet you didn't know the old 'Ball Jar Folks" were doing this.  (In fact, they no longer manufacture the glass jars.) The company is the largest manufacturer of recyclable beverage the world. (Go ahead and click on the image to enlarge) We wondered, out loud, what the cost was to private label with the Iowa Speedway on a national brand.  Talk about regional marketing.  Pretty cool how Rusty and the folks teamed up with Miller to push both brands to a loyal consumer group and hook them as a major sponsor.

Frito Bag CornAnd then there was this from our friends at Frito-Lay.  While the front of the Fritos package is pretty normal there are a couple of interesting points on the back panel.

The corn is a nice "natural" touch and then check out the "Made With All Natural Oil" the wording along with the colors are all meant to scream..."Hey, it's OK to eat this stuff!  Honest." Frito Bag Natural Oil

Then, there is something else about the back panel that caught our eye. Just above the UPC is "Where we live!". Notice the wording.  It's not "Contact the Corporate Office Here!" but softer and more...human.  The addition of the barn cutout is also on purpose...

Frito Bag Where we LivePackaging is an interesting science and something that our team enjoys as much from the design aspect as the consumer psychology side of the business.

Thanks for coming by for a read.  If you want to leave a comment here, feel free.  Or we can connect on Twitter @InsightADV or, should you wish, we can hook up with our advertising agency Facebook Page.


Good Enough for Heinz

Coming to you on November 14th will be a new ketchup flavor from ourHeinzLogo friends at Heinz.  But, you won't be able to pick it up at your grocery store...for awhile.

Heinz announced this week that their new ketchup formula, which replaces traditional white vinegar with balsamic vinegar, will only be available on...Facebook.  Yep consumers won't find the new ketchup in their supermarkets until late December and until then the only outlet will be on social media.  Why this is such a big deal and why YOU should pay attention:

  • Major Brand Influence - The "Big Guns" have been flirting with Facebook for a very long time.  This new product launch will up the value of creative going social.
  • Data, Data, Data - By using Facebook Heinz will be able to capture data on a wide variety of individuals buyers...and non-buyers.  On-line sales have aways been able to capture sales data...but this time Heinz gets to have a relationship with non-buyers for future campaigns.
  • Viral Messaging - This is a brilliant PR move.  Take a product like ketchup and alter the recipe a tiny bit.  No big deal.  BUT, take it to social media and folks talk about it.
  • Start With Your Base - Heinz already has 825,000 fans on Facebook so why not launch to your most "friendly" base?
  • Make It Special - In this case Heinz is labeling this "new" product as a "limited edition" until March.  

The bottom line for you:  While you may not have the advertising dollars and marketing ability of Heinz you already have "loyal fans" and consumers on Facebook...and off.  The next time you launch a special Heinz Pkg useprice, a new product, a special event, START with your loyalists and give them a reason to tell somebody else.

One other ketchup detail.  Remember when I "discovered" the new "Dip & Squeeze" single serving packet on a filming in Georgia?  Single servings have NOT been available to consumers outside of fast-food facilities.  That is about to change.  You'll be able to buy ten of these single serve packages for, ready? $2.00... it! 




 If you would like to leave a comment here...feel free or let's connect on Twitter: @InsightADV and here is our advertising agency Facebook page.  Not yet at 825,000...friends. - Michael 

Marketing By Committee

Last week we all witnessed a textbook case of "marketing byCyhawk trophy new  committee" when the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Learfield Sports and the Iowa Corn Growers unveiled the new Cy-Hawk traveling trophy.  The reaction was not what Mindy Williamson of the Corn Growers was expecting.  People from all sides...hated it.  I know that's a strong word...but true.  And when, the ever mindful of polls, Govenor Branstad weighs in and says, "I think they can do better."  You know the new trophy will have a very short life.

This fiasco does allow us a "teachable moment" and something we've warned about in the past.  Don't dabble in something you know nothing about especially when it's a committee with competing interests.  The corn folks know corn...and Learfield, based in Plano, Texas knows...uhm, let me get back to you on that.  That's how we ended up with a trophy that has nothing to do with football...or reality.  (There hasn't been a "farm family look" like that for forty years.  Well, maybe in Texas.)

New Coke Use "Hold on their Libbie!  In my company we all have our product/service at the top of our minds.  There is no competition here."   Sure there is.  When the new head of marketing comes in, talks with the folks in accounting and they talk with the sales department we get mistakes like...New Coke.  To name one.

Let's say you have an idea for a product or service that you've developed.  It might be wise to ask the advice of an expert before you dive head-long Edsel.  No?

The good news...later today there is going to be a press conference among some of the folks involved in this.  The spin will be...amazing.  And that leads us to another "teachable moment":  Rather than dance around the issue and talk about corn and families and whatever they should simply say"We made a huge mistake and we've heard from the people of Iowa.  We're going back into design and come out with a new, new Cy-Hawk Trophy." professional advice:  Maybe a likeness of Nile Kinnick on one side and Jack Trice on the other?  And, no...not running through a corn field. 


QR Codes - Part Two

There has been a discussion over on LinkedIn about QR Codes, "Fad or Here to Stay?".  Last week I shared this video (you can click on the link or activate the QR Code) about how some folks areQR Code Video  using the technology...and offered up a several tips to improve usage.

This morning I read the results of a new survey from comScore that tells us 14 million consumers scanned QR Codes or Bar Codes, using a smart-phone, this past June.  That's roughly 6.2% of the total mobile phone population in the United States. 

The report also says these "code scanners" tend to be male (60.5%) and ages 18 - 34 (53.4%) with a household income of $100,000+ (36.1%).  Look for all of these stats to adjust as more consumers and and manufacturers/products up their use of QR.

What Are They Scanning?

This is interesting:  Leading the pack is magazines and newspapers with about 49% of the scanned images coming from them.  Next is product packaging at 35% and websites on PC's at 27%..  Most are scanned from home (58%) from a retail store 39% or a grocery store (25%).

I wonder if it would be cool for a restaurant to put a "table-tent" out with a QR Code and have the chef show you the special of the day?   Could be done with video in less than sixty seconds...hmmm. 

Thanks for coming by.  If you want to leave a comment here feel free or let's connect on Twitter @MichaelLibbie (personal and business) or @InsightADV (business...90% of the time) and our ad agency Facebook Page is right here. Have a great week! - Michael 

Package Design - Team Effort

Over the years we've created dozens of package designs for variousSpotGone Web  products.  Pictured here is something we named SpotGone! a natural product that eliminates pet spots from lawns.  We did this design three years ago.  

Recently we've started work on five new designs for our client NatraTurf.  I'd love to show you all of them...but some things need to be quiet so they can roll out the products to the lawn and garden industry this fall.

But, we'll give you a peek and an early design...and a little "back story".

Triplicity final aug 1_5-001 When we enter into a design phase it doesn't start out the way we like it...or the way the client likes it.  We create package design based on what the consumer likes.  And, that's the tough part.  It's all based on hours of research into "who" is motivated by a particular niche.  In this case it's organic/natural lawn and garden products...a multi-billion dollar industry.  Our research into buying habits and interviews with consumers helped us create what you see here.  Colorful, simple and, yes, geared toward a female consumer who trend high in the organic/natural market.

Once we get into the consumer mindset it's off to writing and design.  Here an entire team and the client become involved in the creative.  But, at the end of the's all consumer focused.  Not based on guessing...but on knowledge.  And, that's the key.

What motivates your buying decisions?  What packaging really catches your eye?  As always, we're interested in what you've got to say.

Thanks for coming by.  If you want to connect on's that link. Or on Twitter it's @MichaelLibbie (personal and business) or @InsightADV (business baby...all business).