Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don't Call Them Old!

The Wall Street Journal has this fascinating article about the growing demand from senior citizens for product packaging that shies away from making them feel "old."  Apparently the aesthetic tastes between today's youth and the elderly are closer now than ever before.

This may sound like an advantage for marketers, but as Diamond Foods chief marketing officer Andrew Burke points out, boomers tend to have a filter that works against product packaging that they perceive as "too pushy."  If they feel they're being coerced into buying, they're likely to pass on purchasing all together.

The solution lies in subtle coercion, allowing marketers to "quietly adapt to aging customers."   Examples include:
  • Sherwin-Williams lowering the shelving height in it's stores by a mere ten inches to allow for more natural, easier-on-the-eyes lighting.  
  • Emerald packaging some of their nut products in cylinders versus tin cans or plastic pouches, which can be difficult for anyone suffering from reduced coordination or arthritis to open. 
  • Kleenex moving away from their signature, floral-coated tissue boxes and into more contemporary designs with trendy colors. 
With so much effort being put into shaping products that can be more readily accepted by senior citizens, it's curious to think how common, every day things like snack foods or tissues will be packaged and sold by the time I'm retirement age!

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