Behold the Power of Packaging

Advocacy efforts spend a lot of time on “messaging.” But too often we think in terms of PSAs instead of the point of attack – the place where the action we want actually takes place.

It’s why consumer marketers invest so heavily at the point of purchase and why packaging is one of the four Ps in consumer marketing.

This came to mind the other day as I read David Kesmodel’s Wall Street Journal piece on whether egg farmers should abandon cages, which included a guide to egg carton labels. Which eggs do you buy? Organic, cage-free, pasture-raised, free-range, vegetarian-fed, omega-3 … or just the cheapest? So many choices and what do they mean?

I’ve always favored cage-free, to avoid guilt, keep alive my bucolic illusions about farming (I worked on a dairy farm in high school) and because I’m guessing it’s healthier. But get this: “Cage-free” eggs are not the most, well, cage free. From the WSJ piece: Cage-free “means the chickens were uncaged and able to freely roam a barn or other facility, but they generally don’t have access to the outdoors.” Turns out it was the “organic” eggs I’d passed up that come from cage-free birds with access to the outdoors (plus they’re certified by the USDA). No wonder they were more expensive. I thought cage-free was giving me that for less. Plus it didn’t mention cages on the organic cartons.

Morals of the story: Packaging drives behavior. Consumers (like me) need things spelled out and are not completely rational (there’s a whole debate about whether cage-free is healthiest). Most importantly for those of us concerned about more than just selling stuff: Are we thinking enough about the labels we put on our offers? Are we focused enough on where our desired action is taking place?

Peter Mitchell is Principal + Chief Creative Officer at Marketing for Change.

Behavior Change Marketing Plan Template

Download Now