whiskas redesign

New packaging for Whiskas, Colgate and Air Wick has been heralded as the major factor behind the most successful European launches over the past two years.

The latest annual Breakthrough Innovation Report from research company Nielsen analysed 9,900 product launches across Europe.

It said that 11 of the brands generated at least £7.5m or €7.5m sales in the first year of launch (€5m for launches in Eastern Europe) and maintained at least 90% of that figure in the second year.

Packaging design emerged as the key theme due to the amount of consumer decision-making that happens as they stand in front of the shelves.

The UK had one winning brand in the report: Whiskas dry catfood.

France provided three of the winners, with Air Wick Pure, Coca-Cola’s Finley and Colgate; Germany had yoghurt brand Zott Sahne Joghurt Mascarpone Duett and coffee Melitta Mein Café, Russia with Gold Mine Beer’s Zhivoe and fruit drink Fruto Nyanya Na Progulku, Turkey with Pladis’ cake products O’lala Sufle and Süt Burger, and Italy with AZ Complete.

“Package design is the dark horse of the marketing world. It receives little attention compared to other marketing disciplines, and its impact tends to be vastly underestimated,” said Ben Schubert from Nielsen’s Innovation Practice in Europe, co-author of the report.

“Back-to-basics marketing such as how essential it is to stand out at the shelf has become slightly lost due to marketers’ increasing focus on where to advertise in a media-saturated world. Nearly 60% of product decisions are made at the shelf, and 56% of European consumers say in-store discovery is one of their top information sources for new products, compared to 45% for TV ads.”

Whiskas went for a new direction in its catfood packaging design with clearer labelling. “Our new packaging is designed to help cat owners buy the right food for their cat’s age,” said Gina Head, senior brand manager at Mars Petcare.

“It may sound simple, but in the split-second when consumers make that decision about which catfood to buy, these things really make a difference and give consumers confidence that their cat is getting the right nutrition.”