One of the major trends in laundry detergents, especially in Europe, is with detergents that are as effective in cold temperatures as they would be in hotter temperatures. The benefit to the consumer is clear—colder water means less energy expense, which can result in significant savings.
Packaging can, of course, reinforce these benefits with clear package language. But there are other ways as well. Procter & Gamble's Ariel Excel Gel detergent in the UK uses several unique package features to help reinforce the message of value and effective use. The side of the bottle has a clear strip so that you can see exactly how much detergent is in the bottle. This helps consumers know when to buy more (and to not buy a new package too soon).
The top of the package pulls off to become a dispensing cap. Part of the cap is clear so that it is very easy to know when the correct amount has been dispensed from the package into the cap. The dispensing cap is a soft plastic designed to go straight into the washer with the dirty clothes, ensuring that all of the detergent in the cap is used for its intended purpose.
And, thirdly, the detergent dispenses from the package with a flip-top cap on the bottom of the package. The valve in the dispensing opening self-seals, eliminating drips—and again, eliminating waste. Finally, because the package dispenses from the bottom, it is easier for consumers to dispense all of the contents from the package.
One interesting package design feature that does not tie in with the convenience angle is the imagery embossed on the dispensing mechanism. The image is a warning to not squeeze the container while looking down at the dispensing mechanism—it shows a stylized image of a woman squeezing the package and the contents spraying into her face. An obvious message, but—nevertheless—an important one. n
Lynn Dornblaser is the director of the Custom Solutions Group at Mintel International. She can be reached at 312-932-0400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.