New Packs In!

We’ve looked at other examples of ads in which packages grow as if they were vegetables. (See: Ketchup & Catsup Bottles on the Vine)

This “New Pack” ad showing cans of Green Giant peas contained in a pea pod is another nice example. Interesting how many Green Giant ads from the 1940s and 1950s made the arrival of the “new packs” a selling point, attempting to make their canned goods seem fresh, I suppose.

I like the corn typography and the all-over corn/peas backgrounds of these ads, but I don’t know why “packs” needs an apostrophe.

Here we have cans of corn growing on the stalk and ears of corn with labels rather than husks.

In the double page ad spread above the Green Giant mascot has apparently cut himself free of the label.

(Evolution of a trademarked Green Giant canned food label, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Price Tag Branding

Revisiting the idea of trompe l’oeil price tags on packaging, we have this “AD Inorgosa” insecticide packaging from 1966. (from EveryDayLifeModern’s Flickr Photostream)

Apparently designed by Luis Duran, it uses one type of packaging (a hang tag) as a graphic design element on other types of package (cans, bottles, etc.) Using a faux price tag in the the design of a logo or a package, is a way of signaling commerce—that the item is “for sale.”

Nowadays, the company that has bought into this idea in a big way is Best Buy. They have not only trademarked the shape of a hang-tag style price tag…

…they are also known to aggressively oppose other companies that attempt to trademark logos that feature price tags and have successfully prevented some of the logos below from getting approved.

Of course, AD Inorgosa’s 1966 packaging shows that Best Buy was not the first company to use a price tag in their branding. Another example is the Ferry-Morse Seed Company’s “Advanced Gold Tag” trademark, filed in 1964 and approved in 1972. Like Best Buy, their signs were also yellow.

One interesting thing about hang tags as packaging, is that they are labels, rather than containers. Although, one of Best Buy’s other trademarks envisions a price tag shaped box…

(Price tag as container, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Peter Geschwind (& the back alleys of consumption)

Peter Geschwind makes sculptures and installations that often employ packages. Not always as inanimate objects. (Above: his 2002 film “Sound Cut”)

Above left: a modified Camel cigarettes box; on right “Candyman”; lower left: “Cheap High” an installation of inflated bogs; on right: “Moving Trash” a 2010 sculpture of McDonalds bag with papers and a battery-driven toy

“A few of Geschwind´s sculptures can be taken to be crazy toys — a misconception that is quickly corrected when the works are shown together. …about as fun and relaxing as hysterically zapping between ten of our most common cable channels. … From such a hallucinatory kaleidoscope a few well-known labels are crystallised… A series of flashbacks from the shadiest, murkiest back alleys of consumption society, where the product mongers fight over our attention in order to sell a whole load of things that we can find in our nearest dustbin.”

Peter Geschwind´s Phantasmagoria, Lars-Erik Hjertström Lappalainen

Serving Suggestion

On the left is Sue Webster and Tim Noble’s 2004 kinetic sculpture, “Serving Suggestion.” On the right is a detail of an ad for Oscar Mayer’s “remarkable new food packaging invention” (circa 1947) that we wrote about in April. (not currently online)

I just wish I could have found a video of the motorized “Serving Suggestion” sculpture in action …

“A touch of humor came from irreverent duo Sue Webster and Tim Noble, whose Serving Suggestion, a sexually charged version of the English staple (a replica of baked beans and sausage), sold for £35,000. One had to laugh at the reactions of prudish viewers staring at what appears to be a generic tin of beans, when suddenly, a glistening red sausage slowly surfaces and stands shockingly erect — only to disappear again into the saucy soup.”

Frieze Action, Joe La Placa, October, 26, 2004, Artnet

(See another sculpture by Sue Webster and Tim Noble in Packaging Cityscapes)

Cluster of Grapes Bottles

Top left “Vintage Grape Cluster Glass Bottle Decanter Made in Turkey” from ebay ($8.99); on right: “1980’s Hand Blown Toscany Glass Grape Cluster Bottle” for sale at Ruby Lane ($27); 2nd row, left: “Grape Cluster Shaped Bottle” for sale on eBay (starting bid: $4); on right: “Vintage green bottle bunch of grapes”for sale on Etsy ($19); 3rd row, left: “1930s Italian Grape Cluster Clear Glass Bottle” sold on Etsy for $7.50; on right: “Grapes Cluster Grapevine Figural Clear Glass Bottle w Cork Stopper Unique” sold on eBay for $10.98

Back when I was researching bottle “clusters,” I happened to see one of these “cluster-of-grapes” bottles. There are other figural bottles shaped like a bunch of grapes, but these bottles (like torpedo bottles) were designed not to stand upright.

I looked, but could not find any design patents for these bottles.

According to seller of the bottle above (at the lower left), this design was first made in Italy and “later reproduced in Turkey and France.” Regarding the bottles made in Turkey, the Ruby Lane site states:

This is a bottle made by TOSCANY in Turkey in the early 1980’s. These were extremely popular in the 80’s and almost every kitchen had one sitting on the counter or table, filled with colored water, made with food coloring.

(Inset bottle on right for sale on eBay for $20)

No Trademark for “Uncompromising” Bottle

We’ve seen other hand-shaped figural bottles before, but the Fakeer Energy Drink bottle was new to me. (via: Packaging of the World)

Luxuria, s.r.o. has been trying since 2008 to trademark their “BOTTLE IN THE SHAPE OF A HAND WITH MIDDLE FINGER EXTENDED UPWARDS,” but the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has repeatedly ruled against them. (via: The TTABlog®)

The Fakeer brand is caught in an interesting catch-22: wanting to capitalize on an edgy and irreverent marketing idea, and yet seeking the regulatory protections of civilized society.

I remember in the early 1960s my father having a carved wooden hand on his dresser like the one on the right. (via) It was supposedly a ring holder, but my brothers and I were fascinated by it because we knew that it was not just a ring holder, it was an obscene gesture.

For Fakeer to prevail they would need to convince two separate constituencies that two opposite things were true: bottle says “f— you” and bottle does not say “f— you.”

In a press release from the bottle maker, P.E.T. Engineering srl, the gesture is framed, not in terms of obscenity, but “uncompromising” freedom and choice:


Certainly, no one had never thought on an energy drink like this before.

In the context of energy drinks who are made in the image of beasts like bulls, sharks and invincible creatures, Fakeer gives voice to a different thought, more linked to human needs: live fully and without any compromises like a mold-breaker.

From all this came the idea of a drink and a bottle that do not compromise at all, neither in the choice of ingredients, natural and with no added chemicals or preservatives, nor in the shape, which expresses, clearly and without any fear, the power of choices made holding your head up high, beyond popular belief.

In their documents denying Fakeer’s bottle a U.S. trademark, the TTAB effectively gives them the finger, by citing Wikipedia’s definition of the raised middle finger gesture and other sources as proof of obscenity:

Therefore, because the mark, consisting of a bottle in the shape of a hand with the middle finger extending upwards in the “f— you” gesture, consists of and comprises immoral or scandalous matter and a substantial composite of the general public encountering the mark in its normal retail channels for the goods would consider it immoral or scandalous, the Examining Attorney respectfully requests that the refusal to register the proposed mark on the basis of Trademark Act Section 2(a), 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), be affirmed.

Not that it can’t be sold in all the normal retail channels. It just won’t be protected by a trademark. Other competing energy drinks could also be packaged in similarly shaped “f— you” bottles.

(Fakeer’s box, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Bottle Clusters

Radial multi-packs of separable bottles: 3 examples.

1. Andres E. Alvarez Rios’s “Sixpack configuration that resembles the Cluster Water molecule”

2. Sidel’s fruit-section shaped “Daily Dose™” concept: “… a multipack solution directed particularly at families and consumers who wish to consume small amounts of fruit doses or yoghurt drinks on a regular basis. Six bottles are sleeved individually and linked with one unique label in a handy set.”

3. James S. Jennison’s 1979 patent for a “multi-container package” assigned to Riley Brothers, Inc., which I think means that it was intended as a 4-pack for motor oil, although I couldn’t find any evidence of such a package having ever been manufactured by Riley Bros.

Regarding my plea for lost emails (see previous post)… I am happy to report that, thanks to George Nukuto, Todd Nickel, Dave Cook, Doug Studer, Tracey Leigh Yates, Zora Göschl, and Sonja Heer, I now have all the missing text and have begun restoring the 100 or so lost posts from the last five months.

That part will probably take a while, but I’m so grateful for your assistance. Like the “Daily Dose” bottle below, I could not have stood up to the challenge without your support. Thank you.


Do You Save Old Emails?

Do you save old letters? If so you might be able to fashion this lethal-looking letter opener made from old letters.

How about old emails, do you save those? If you’re one of the 117 remaining email subscribers to box vox, I’m hoping that, in this regard, you are a pack rat.

After a week of radio silence I must sadly report that the last 5 months of box vox has indeed been erased. I have the pictures, but most of the writing was done online and I foolishly never thought to backup the database. Feeds appear to be no help, as they only reflect the web site as it now stands. My last recourse is to seek out an email-saving subscriber. The photos, of course, will no longer show in those emails, but the writing and the html code would be real a life-saver.

If you have saved any emailed posts from box vox (sent to you between February 23, 2012 and August 3, 2012) please email them back to me.


Please Stand By

ISP server has crashed. They’ve replaced it with a backup server, effectively erasing five months of Box Vox.

Waiting to see if data recovery will restore the missing posts. Might take a few days. In the meantime I’m taking a break. Please stay tuned.

3 More Chained Polyhedral Packs

Three more examples of connected chains of polyhedral packaging.

1. Charlérik Lemieux’s 8-pack of acorns, based on Gilles Vigneault’s 1976 song, “J’ai Planté un Chêne,” was an octagonal ring of connected pyramids. (via: Packaging UQAM)

2. The connected red boxes of Olivia Paden’s 2011 “Tripkit” serve as a metaphor for “a series of mini-adventures” portioned out to break up the monotony of a long car trip.

3. Zohra and Benoit Gillain’s Zebag is a chain of 6 triangular compartments for bottles of wine that folds up into a hexagonal carrying case.

(More about ZeBag, after the fold…) [Read more…]