Food and drink brands are not typically too adventurous when it comes to packaging design. Packaging designers are often forced to compromise for practical reasons, and even when clients ask for innovative designs, such ideas are often killed because they're deemed too risky. The final selected design is often a safe option which already exists, therefore making the brand just another invisible product on the shelf.
All of the above is according to Somchana Kangwarnjit, nicknamed Champ (pictured below), the owner and executive creative director at Prompt Design, based in Thailand.
Speaking last week at the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum 2018 (FBIF) in Shanghai, he argued that packaging aesthetics should be considered a killer point of differentiation in the era of social media.
"The world is changing," he said in Thai. "The online world is becoming more and more important because nowadays many people buy things, or are impressed by products, on the Internet." And nowhere more so than in Thailand, he said, referring to data from Hootsuite and We Are Social.
A good starting point of brand differentiation is to first subvert the traditional thinking of packaging design, he said.
Enter sugar cane, a very popular drink in Thailand, typically sold by streetside vendors who juice the cane and immediately serve it, in an often unhygienic way. Working with Rai Mai Jon, a Thai company that specialises in franchising and selling bottled sugarcane juice, Kangwarnjit noticed that its previous product designs looked exactly like competitors (see image in gallery above).
After revamping the packaging to simulate the look, feel and texture of sugarcane as much as possible, the brand attracted a great deal of attention online, he said. The bottle shape was designed to allow it to snap-fit and stack on top of one another.