Everyone knows that packaging is a decisive factor in the buying process and this is why companies are giving it more and more importance in their corporate image strategy and this is where the smallest consumers in the household are becoming increasingly involved.
If we look closer, packaging aimed at children inundates practically ever section of our supermarkets, from water to juice, from chocolate to cereal, from yoghourt to milk or even from tissues to toilet paper… and with this explosion of colours, drawings and kids’ favourite characters is hard to resist.
But packaging is also part of a carefully considered merchandising strategy, where these products aimed especially at children are placed on shelves at their eye level, so that the impact is even greater.
Ten years ago, when packaging aimed at children represented less than half of what it is today, the Journal of Consumer Marketing carried out a study on this matter, in which a group of children were asked to draw a box of cereal. The results were more than conclusive, practically all the children (97%) drew the cereal box with the name of a specific brand and the character associated to it, such as Kellogg’s Frosties and the famous tiger we all know so well.
With this experiment, it was clear that children are also capable of remembering brand names, especially when they are built around given characters that draw their attention.
The basic aspects that the designer of packaging for children should take into consideration are:
Primary colours should prevail: Primary colours such as red, blue, yellow or green have a direct impact on children, especially when they are associated to certain cartoon characters they are used to seeing. The shade of the colour is also important. It should be bright as this is better at gaining their attention and helps to incite emotion and stimuli in them that will ultimately attract them to a certain packaging over another.
Characters have an important place: children get carried away by the characters that are in fashion and that they see every day in their favourite cartoons. It is obvious that a food or drink featuring the fashionable character on the packaging will instantly become an object of desire for children.
The message is fun: For children to feel attracted by a food that might be less appetizing than ice cream or a bar of chocolate, we have to appeal to their emotions and use fun packaging.
It must look very appetizing: we eat with our eyes and as far as children are concerned it is even more important than with adults that packaging feature images of the product presented in a way that instantly whets their appetites. The presentation of the dish, the quality of the photograph, the colours that stand out … if they like the photo, the first step has been made to make them feel like tasting it.
Size also matters: Smaller packaging is best. The aim is to present certain foods in portions calculated for single consumption, also making it easier for children to take the food with them in their lunchbox or school bag to eat during break, for example.
Creative and imaginative packaging: The element of surprise is also important and, as we say, nowadays child-focused packaging is no longer marginal and there is a lot of competition. So if we are capable of offering no something new, original, and creative in the packaging then a great part of the battle will be won. In this regard, some packages include cut-outs on the back featuring popular characters of the moment for the children to colour in once the product inside is finished.
So the world of packaging for children has a lot to offer and we are going to find more and more that the smallest members of the household will become major consumers the brands will have in their sights.