Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Packaging

Packaging is a major selling strategy for makeup companies. Many makeup lovers who say they care about packaging usually really care about the status the packaging supplies. Who doesn't love the iconic "double c's" of Chanel or the sleek yet functional squared designs of Shu Uemura? And most spend the $30 odd dollars knowing that they will likely never hold one of the iconic quilted Chanel bag or sport any of the luxurious clothing. However, when comparing packaging between high end and drugstore products, Revlon recently added some quilting and imprints to their newest Colorburst line but that doesn't stop people from buying the Chanel.

Honestly, when I finally got a hold of a Chanel Quad, I thought the plastic felt a bit cheap. I was surprised at how lightweight it was, especially at the $57 price point. Still, there's a certain thrill when you use a product so status-worthy. You whip it out of your purse and feel special applying it - friends and coworkers might notice and ask "ooh, is that Chanel?" and you respond positively with an easy grin.

I rarely see packaging that is fun just for the sake of it rather than for reasons of status though many brands tend to draw a common theme with their packaging, especially if the makeup is born from a larger brand (think Tokidoki or Tarina Tarantino).

So I was very surprised to see a line of lip glosses where the packaging is standard but the colors and designs are mostly just for fun.
And where the packaging is less of a status symbol.

I recently had the chance to try one of Lip Savvy! Plumping Lip Glosses and while I wasn't a big fan of the sticky long-wearing formula, I was so intrigued by the packaging. Sure you see the Lip Savvy! written on each tube, but the design on the tubes is so fun and doesn't really scream "I am a brand". The packaging and formula are much like the Stila Lipglazes or MAC Lipglasses. So if you like long-wearing and sticky formulas, I would give these a try. They retail for $18 and come in 22 shades.

It's interesting to see, aside from the name, the lipgloss is not heavily branded. I'm curious how well it will fair among brands that are heavily branded. I think most makeup enthusiasts recognize major brand packaging, even some drugstore packaging. With this, I'm not sure there's any automatic, "Oh yeah, that's Lip Savvy!" so we'll see.

Disclosure: I was sent a Lip Savvy! for review and I didn't care for the tackiness so I didn't want to devote a full review for my blog. However, the idea that the lipgloss packaging was unlike pretty much every brand I've ever seen really piqued my interest and made me think about branding and packaging and what that means for a brand and the consumer. The most deviations from packaging within a particular product in a line has been color - the color of the product might be different in a line of lipglosses or lipsticks, but the rest of the packaging is fairly homogeneous (for example, Revlon Colorburst lipsticks all have the same quilted exterior and the caps have different colors to be able to tell the color of the lipstick inside). What are your thoughts? Have I been in graduate school too long? =p