Search online for “Good things come in smart packages” and Dow’s 2012 video (above) will dominate the results. But Dow was not the first to ever use this headline.
We came out with a series of promotional mailing cards in 2000, one of which used the same declarative sentence as a headline.
Based on the old figure of speech about good things coming in small packages, it’s not surprising that more than one person has thought of substituting the word “smart” for the word, “small.” As an idea, this is relatively low hanging fruit.
Still, 15 years later, it’s interesting to note who has used this idea and what they were selling.
Here’s a partial list of 10 “smart packagers” including BEACH:
1. Dow is selling their “performance packaging solutions” under their newish “Solutionism” trademark.
2. In BEACH’s case, we were selling our package design services. The message on the back of our card read:
Who says you can’t judge a book by its cover. Not us. We think that’s pretty much what customers do—they judge the product by its package. Your products may be ingenious, but how will your customers know this if the packaging looks like an afterthought.
In the battle for market share, good packaging is a smart weapon. Call us now to outsmart your competition.
Did we overplay the “smart” metaphor? Maybe. Even though we were careful to mention “ingenious” products, there was always something glib and vaguely dishonest in this line of reasoning. The idiom about “small” packages, after all, is a rather optimistic prediction about the quality of hidden contents. Small packages might contain good things, but aren’t they equally apt to contain bad things?
“Good things come in smart packages” is like something that an unreliable narrator might say. What promise is being made and to whom? Is it just a promise to consumers of good things ahead? Or is it also a promise to manufacturers that a customer will believe a “smart” package’s promise?
Who else has been touting smart packages? We have 8 more, after the fold…
3. Since 2012 Citadelle has used the same headline in promoting its “SmartSak.”
4. Target used the same sentence in copy promoting their “revolutionary cereal box” (Sonoco’s LinearPak®) for Archer Farms Granola in 2008.
5. Conklin has used the headline on its website since 2010 to promote its vehicle product packaging.
6. AMIT International has used the same headline on their website to promote Red Square chemical products.
7. Nancy Lees used the headline for her 2005 article about toy packaging in Kidscreen magazine. And (like us) she begins with the “judging-a-book-by-its-cover” analogy: “Despite the old adage about not judging a book by its cover, the simple fact is that most consumers do it everyday.”
8. Bell Labs used the headline in their email newsletter in 2000 about microchip “smart tags.”
9. A 2000 issue of Australasian Science magazine also used the same headline.
10. Avia Creative has been using the sentence on their website since around 2010. (Like us, they’re selling package design services.)
All of which is apropos of nothing beyond concluding, either, that it’s an obvious idea or that “great minds think alike.” Either way this is not plagiarism.
Tomorrow’s post, however, is a whole ’nother story…