Tastefully Simple

Posted: August 22, 2014 by
David Litwak

On the crowded shelves of a supermarket dairy case, there is no room for message ambiguity. To maximize the marketing messages for Alouette’s Crème de Brie cheese line’s impact in the five seconds the average shoppers spends glancing in the product’s direction, Alouette decided to update its Crème de Brie cheese line packaging to instantaneously reinforce the product’s branding every time the consumer looks at it.

“We felt that the product was quite unique and of very high quality and that the current package didn’t reflect that as well as it could, “ says Kathi Carroll, marketing brand manager of Alouette Cheese USA. “This is a specialty item, and we wanted it to look premium as possible; the packaging needed to make it unique within the brie set. It needed to reflect the premium product and its spreadability.”

 To enhance the perception of premium quality and spreadability, Alouette chose to convey these attributes through its packaging, specifically through its label. Rather than trying to tell consumers about the distinct attributes of the cheese through printed words, the company determined that it would be more meaningful to show shoppers the quality and spreadability of the Crème de Brie.

Ideally, just showing the actual product inside through a clear window would have been the best way to showcase the quality of Alouette’s products, but this was not possible because there is a foil layer on top of the cheese in the tubs. Pictures on top of the package were the best alternative.

“We believe that having premium photography and an upscale color palette and graphics will clearly communicate quality,” Carroll explains. “We’ve simplified the complexity of the graphics, with label design less is more.” Carroll points to the label photo of a knife sweeping through the Brie as a quick, decisive way to send the message of spreadability that is obvious to the consumer at first glance.

Alouette enlisted the assistance of design firm QNY Creative to develop the new labels and adjust the packaging to carry them with full impact. “The whole point of the new package was that, instead of filling up the top label with words, say it with a picture that stands out and tells the story,” says Ezio Burani creative director and founder of QNY Creative.

By strengthening the images on the label, Alouette was able to lose most of the descriptive words thus leaving little to distract the viewer’s eye from the new depiction of the product inside. They created a simulated window into the tub without actually cutting through the top; the graphic of the knife spreading the brie conveys the experience of a knife actually sliding through the cheese.

Before the redesign, Alouette’s package-top labels included verbiage about its spreadability, and that the product was made from natural brie with no rind. No rind was actually mentioned twice on the old lid labels. The labels also listed the content’s weight in ounces and grams, as well as a kosher seal.

The new lid labels contain just six words beside the logo and name of the product – “Delectable Brie Spread,” “No Rind” and “Original.” Even Alouette’s own logo has been substantially reduced.

Everything from photography to the font choice supports the idea of spreadability. “They [Alouette] wanted to push spreadability, so we used a font that is more rounded,” says Burani. “It looks more like calligraphy, while the old font looked more industrial. Another big step for them was giving less space for their own logo; it has been reduced by about 20%. Before, the middle of the label was really squeezed, now it is more open to the images.”

The new package lid has softened its color palette from bright to a more watercolor effect to evoke a more premium and natural feel for the product. Even though the color is softer, there is more of it.

The top of the outside walls of the package form a frame around the label, these used to be white. The label border color is now repeated on this frame. The effect is that the package stands out more and the label graphics appear even bigger.

There is a different color for each of the three varieties of Crème de Brie; blue for the Original, green for the Garlic and Herb, and brown for the new variety, Smoky Bourbon. “The new blue is dusty looking rather than the bolder blue that Alouette used to use,” says Burani. “We really chose a Pantone color that is not common.”

“It’s a brand new color for us but the overall process is the same,” says Christine Bouveret, sales manager for IML Containers Inc., which prints Alouette’s labels. “We usually wait to have the color chip to put the color on the plastic itself and then match the label.”

The addition of color to the lid reaped big benefits by making it easier for consumers to choose their favorite varieties and raising the product’s profile in the dairy case with a clearly differentiated look. Message solidification and simpler, imaged design lets consumers know instantly that these spreadable cheeses are delectably creamy delights.