We received a mysterious Fed-Ex package on Wednesday (from Minneapolis-based Fast Horse) containing a 12-pack carton of “limited edition” Diet Coke, designed by Turner Duckworth. There was also a matching Diet Coke tote bag and a card that read in part:
“We’re excited to share with you our brand new look for fall before it hits the shelves. As a trendsetter in the fashion and design world, you are getting the first glimpse. Knowing you have great taste, we‘d love to hear what you think of our new look.”
We don’t usually get much in the way of swag, so I’m duly flattered for box vox to be among the package design blogs, selected to receive this. It would be nice to believe that (in some small, unprofitable way) box vox might be considered “a trendsetter” but it also provides us an interesting glipse into one small marketing initiative of the Coca-Cola Company.
I imagine similar packages have also been received by The Dieline, Lovely Package, etc. Richard Shear has already beaten everyone to the punch and blogged about it last Wedneday on The Package Unseen. But OK, I’ll bite…
Half Empty or Half Full Disclosure: As a diabetic package designer, the only kind of soda I ever drink is diet soda and most of the diet soda that I’ve consumed so far has been Diet Coke. Already the 12-pack of soda is nearly all consumed—(not that I didn’t have some help). Is this a conflict of interest or does it give me insight? Does a far-fetched, aspirational desire for Coke, as a client, color my analysis of their new package design? Does the free soda pop taint my judgement or does it deepen my review to have tried their product in its new packaging? 12 Times.
Before, we opened the carton, having only seen pictures of the can from one angle, I had imagined that the can might be another “Incomplete Package” —a fragmentary package design with the potential to create a larger “whole” display, as with the red aluminum bottles with the large Coca-Cola script wrapping around the sides—(also by Turner Duckworth.)
As it turns out, the largest legible display you can create is still just a small part of their logo spanning two cans. Certainly this logo is familiar to consumers, and it’s a testament to Diet Coke’s dominance of the market that they can experiment with such an extremely abbreviated version of their logo. Unlike some new fledgling brand, they can be confident that consumers will immediately recognize even a tiny portion of their logo. Not that the logo, in its entirety does not appear elsewhere on the can. Smaller versions do appear. (Four times.)
The 12-pack carton, on the other hand, with its diagonal can spanning the edges, fits squarely into our Incomplete Package category. Taken individually, each carton shows only a small fragment of the new can, but if three cartons are stacked a certain way, it’s possible to build a picture of the entire can.
Not that they necessarily intended for supermarkets to stack them up like this. I’m guessing that sideways aluminum cans are not as structural strong as upright (or even upside down) cans. A super-ambitious wall of cartons stacked in this way might be a bad idea. See: 8-Bit Soda Display (Although a smaller 3-high counter display might be safe and effective.)
Beach Packaging Design