Voxpop

The Government is considering standardising cigarette packaging. What other product could have standardised packaging design, and why?

Let’s be honest. I like being delighted by brands. But as I stood in front of the pain relief fixture in Boots I became increasingly angry. Sixteen 200mg Ibuprofen caplets range in price from 36p to £2.45. Paracetamol from 16p to £1.99. Same ingredients, same effect. No difference except the packaging. The most expensive pulled out claims as if its was the only product that would achieve a result. Untrue. They’re the same. These packs are as misleading as cigarette packs. And they’re a distress purchase – there to relieve pain. I left with a headache.
Keren House, Creative director, Aricot Vert

The obvious answer is, of course, alcohol, ’the “other” legalised drug’. As a substance it is more widely abused than tobacco and is seen as more appealing and visually desirable to our youth, especially with its cool packaging, promotions and sponsorships. However, utilitarian, non-branded packaging standardisation cannot be the answer to this social problem (however much you like a clean white background and a crisp block of Helvetica Neue 55). At the end of the day, people crave the effects of the substance, not the container. All this quango-led initiative will do is put more creatives out of work, who in turn could turn to alcohol and cigarettes to help them get through tough times.
Mark Grove, Creative director, Shoal Creative

When faced with a wall of wine at my local Sainsbury’s I am often confused by the provenance, vintage, grape variety and producer of the bottles that stand before me.I can’t even rely on price as this doesn’t always reflect the quality of the stuff inside. So, like many other ’naives’ out there, my selection is based purely on the beauty of the label. If, however, all wine bottles were standardised, we would be forced to become more knowledgeable about the wine category and, in the long term, increase our chances of success when facing that wall.
Natalie Alexander, Client director and founder, Butterfly Cannon

High-interest debt is sold as pretty much the exact opposite of what it is. Does it make you richer (platinum), freer (clouds, fields) or wiser (eggs and goldfish)? Hardly. A blank white card, or one with the rate of interest in large bold writing on the front, could slow us down just enough to reconsider those hefty spontaneous purchases we really can’t afford. That said, standardisation paves the way for customisation, think grafitti on a blank wall – it could make bland categories cool again.
Glenn Kiernan, Founder, We Are Him & Her

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