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First Impressions

By: Sara Mason
Posted: October 14, 2008, from the May 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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To ensure equivalence, Klocke will fill only the product in its purest form—no additives, no cutting of the product. In addition, the company’s proprietary print process and inventory of available materials (to accommodate most liquid fills), “ensures product compatibility, stability and graphic presentation, again providing instant brand recognition making the sampler look identical to the retail package,” said Hopta.

Unit Pack also follows this philosophy in its Facsimile Pack innovation, which uses thermoform fill and seal to duplicate the product in a miniature bottle, tube or jar with logo and graphics on a blister pack. Presented as a low-cost alternative to sampling promotions, starter packages and amenity packaging, the blister with foil backing design works for liquids, creams, lotions and gels.

If consumers try a product sample and then want to buy a retail-size container of the product, the consumers’ vision of the product should complement what they find in the store or they may be less certain about making the purchase. If the container cannot be properly mimicked in sample form, the colors and graphics should reflect the full-size as much as possible.

Another option is to provide a photo of the retail product with the sample to avoid confusion. “The consumer must feel comfortable trying a product being marketed and trust the claims that are being made by the full-sized product,” said Dominick Montano, vice president sales/marketing, Sampling Dimensions. “Creative packaging of the sample is important to keep within the brand image.” Sampling Dimensions plans to launch a new lip gloss sampler this year at the New York HBA show in September. It will be a replica of some of the recent developments in airless and tubed packaging.

In addition to merely complementing the full-size product, the quality of the sample packaging must match that of the full-size product. For example, if a mascara brand wants to sample its new product but it’s really the design of the wand that makes for “lush lashes,” then there’s no point in sampling the product with an inferior applicator. “If your brand is a premium-priced, professional-type product, think twice about sampling a one-use economy packette or sachet,” said Johnson. If, for example, you are endorsed by a professional recommendation, extra emphasis should be put into designing an upscale sample; otherwise the dermatologist or other professional may be less likely to recommend the product.

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