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Emotive pack designs more likely to win over consumers than scientific packaging

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

December 5, 2011 | 2 min read

‘Sustainable’ products with simple, emotive pack designs are more likely to chosen by shoppers than those with a scientific or more rational pack design, even if that product had the best environmental credentials on the shelf.

Consumer research from The Big Picture design research agency found that packs with dominant images of people or animals benefiting from the product’s sustainability were seen as ‘greenest’ by consumers when they were shown a range of packs in the tea, coffee and laundry sectors.

The research also found that consumers judged packs by what they perceived as ‘excessive’ packaging using materials such as plastic, which they see as less recyclable, regardless of whether a product had a recycle friendly logo.

Suranee Abeysuriya, The Big Picture director who designed the research, said: “Our analysis suggests brands need to consider big, bold and obvious emotive images if they want to be considered sustainable to the vast majority of shoppers when all other factors are equal, such as price and quality perception.

“Consumers seem to have been turned-off by the dominant culture over recent years of top-down, finger-wagging messages about changing behaviour to be more sustainable, and they therefore seem to screen out logos and rational information on packs.

“Instead they look for feel-good factors which mean they can make an easy, instant contribution to sustainability at point of purchase.”

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