Oooops! Branding and Packaging – is it appropriate?

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on May 17, 2009 in: Oooops! Series

It has been awhile since I did my ‘Oooops’ series. A matter of fact, my Oooops series kind of went out the door when I changed blogs. I think it is time to bring it back. For those of you that don’t know my ‘Oooops’ series is just a mini blog from time to time when I see or hear about something business related and I think ‘Oooops’.

This evening I ran out to the supermarket to get a couple of things and I was standing in line when a man tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and to make a long story short he asked me if I could purchase something for him and that he would give me the money. At first I thought, maybe he just didn’t want to wait in the line, then I realized, there was nobody else behind me. So, I looked in his hand and he had a hot pink package of a feminine hygiene product, Kotex. I could not help but smile, because it is kind of funny, that a grown man would be embarrassed of purchasing such things. However, I can see how this hot pink box, when it being the only thing that you are purchasing, can scream ‘My significant other sent me to the store to buy this and these are obviously not for me’.

Needless to say I added it to my things, and when I was done checking out, I fished into my bag and passed him the box. He was quite relieved and looked like I had just saved his life. Many people could argue that he was just being immature, or that it was not a big deal, all I could think in my head was ‘Oooops!’. When I got home I went searching for a photo of this product – and it looks similar to the one I just posted here. That leaves me thinking, why do they have to be hot pink? Did Kotex not think that a man may possibly purchase these for his wife, mother, sister or girlfriend and that it could be embarrassing? Come to think of it, now that it has been brought to my attention, the box is so bright it just screams… that could be embarrassing for even a female purchasing these for herself in the supermarket, since it obviously draws attention to the little box. Would a white box have been horrible? Maybe they felt that less discreet packaging would negatively effect their sales?

I asked my husband what he thought and he ‘shrugged’ and said:

A woman obviously designed those packages as some sick ‘right of passage’ that a man has to take. I think every woman at one time or another sends their husband or boyfriend to the store to pick a package up. It is like the ultimate test. If you love me you will embarass yourself.

I laughed, not remembering ever sending him to the store to purchase feminine products on my behalf, but he assured me that I did.

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