Branding and marketing is all about making things pretty and putting a best foot forward. That extends to package design, where graphic design is used to either give a new brand point-of-sale power or an established brand an appealing refresh. Sometimes the packaging’s structural design is used to innovate the overall shape or a closure to either add aesthetics or consumer convenience.
With this conventional wisdom in mind, I found myself blown away by a package this past week, one that didn’t jump off the shelf at me, but totally surprised me when I’d open it to use the product inside. I’m talking about the new Preen granular weed killer I’d picked up at The Home Depot. Not sure if you’re familiar with Preen, but you apply it prior to and after you mulch a flower bed. Simple enough product to use, but its makers figured out how to really innovate the package, adding actual functionality.
The cap is a fold-open dispensing chute, novel enough unto itself. However, it now features an actual motorized dispenser to help gardeners apply Preen evenly and to prevent accidental dumps of too many granules at one time and to one area. By motorized, I truly mean motorized. There is an on-off switch, a spinner section that limits the amount of product it takes from the main handleware jug, while it limits the amount of product it sends out the chute. The whole operation is powered by two AA batteries (supplied!).
The makers of Preen have even put together a helpful video off their web site, and presented here, to show how the new package operates.
All in all, very impressive work in a package that, while pleasing from the outside, isn’t screaming to tell you about this surprising piece of innovation on the inside. This is the kind of thing that elevates marketing. It isn’t something that the consumer is necessarily clamoring for, but any time you are adding functionality, you are changing the game in unexpected ways.
I have to admit that this Preen package surprised me. Newton Associates has actually done a few projects for their parent company, Lebanon Seaboard Corporation, but on the professional turf care side of their business, through Mike Sisti, who helps us with new business development, particularly in this industry. This is a company focused on the growing of green plants and grasses, so it is all the more surprising that they have led the way on a significant packaging development.