Mostly people judge the quality of product with its unique packaging. As an ongoing part of our series of packaging design, we look at changes sweeping the toy packaging industry.
Does it sound familiar? You bend to the pester power of your child and buy him a new car model, only to watch your kid get more excited about the colorful box it came in, than the actual model.
Kids love the surprise implicit in packaging. Inquisitive by nature, they love to discover what lies inside. Traditionally, there are two kinds of game and toy consumers – one who actually ‘play’ with the item and delight in ripping it part in no time to see how it works (My kid, I’ve noticed with alarm falls in this category) and hoarders, who see their toy as a collectible. They will tentatively play with it, delight in it, dust it, and loving put all the pieces back into the box! These are show offers of the world, and toy manufacturers must essentially address this set of consumers with their innovative, ‘out of the box’ package designs. In both cases, however, consumers are realizing the value implicit in premium packaged goods.
Therefore, if you have a board game or a toy that you are planning to introduce into the market, the task can seem challenging, at first. Besides addressing concerns about manufacturing, distribution, shipping, and marketing, you also need to attend to the packaging part of the business.
Today’s gadget-savvy, brand-conscious kids are extremely knowledgeable and clear about what they want to buy. Through their parents, they now account for a whopping $21.4 billion worth of merchandising. They may seek parental guidance, but they also seek huge dollops of peer recommendation. With the growth of the global games market, which stood at $78 billion in 2011 and is expected to cross $100 billion next year; toy brands are looking for ways and means of attracting more kids through their stunning package designs.
Packaging makes brands tangible, so it should be a principal marketing tool to help drive home a brand value to a consumer. It must excite curiosity, create a buzz (Remember the phenomenal success of angry birds) and close a sale.
About all, toy packaging must be visually forceful, vibrant and convey a lot of excitement. It needs to stand out in the clutter on a retail rack full of newer and better toy products. In that sense, innovative packaging can be the disruptive force for this industry.
To appeal to this segment, you have to live a kid’s lifestyle, think their thoughts, do a quick market survey and find out what a child really wants. You have to above all, treat them differently from your adult consumers. Sometimes, you have to cut across the age barriers and engage both the kids and their parents, but your primary goal must be to impress the primary consumer of your toy brand. As an industry wag rightly observed, “You must package your brand to emote embody, entice, enhance and endure.”
Great packaging will give the toy a higher value than the actual value, and a bad one can make it look tacky. Then the parents may use the veto power and dig their heels in, warning the child, “You want to buy ‘this’? It looks so cheap!” You’d be surprised how status-conscious rich parents are.
Let loose the ten-year old boy in you
Before you design, slip yourself in the ten-year old’s shoes. Dramatic, flashy eye-popping visuals are necessary, if the main character pulls their attention forcibly! me!”
Communicate effectively on the pack
Don’t give the entire manual there – just a few eye-catchy lines should do the trick. With the visuals and text you choose, make sure that your communication is age appropriate and the toy is easy to operate and play with.
Colors and shape
Experiment with weird shapes, but at the same time, let your choice also be dictated by the shape and size of the toy inside. Use a riot of colors. However, anything splashed in black or red can alarm the parents and make them see ‘red.’
While toy packaging is not a child’s play, if you follow the basic principles of design and keep your packaging bold, clean, simple and effective, it might get cleared your inventory sooner than you had hoped for!
Remember the Barbie phenomenon – it’s still the world’s highest selling doll!