I’ve spent the last week in Asia.
As my goal there was to come up with some new category strategy concepts for a client, I was in full ‘observation’ mode. By that I mean, I was looking and watching and analysing and absorbing everything I could to get insights into cultures that are very different from my own.
Magazine Ads Provide Insights You Can Use In Your Packaging
Along with store visits and observing packaging and what’s on the shelf, I also get a feel for the culture and what’s important to consumers by looking through magazines. One of the magazines that happened to be on the plane with me was the Singaporean Cleo.
Now, I am well past the age of being in the targeted demographic for Cleo, but what an interesting magazine to flip through and analyse.
First, the magazine was filled, and I mean filled, with ads for beauty products. The general commentary was around using this lotion or that cream to ‘achieve less stressful skin’ or ‘more baby like skin’ or even ‘whiter, more creamier skin.’
Reading into the ads a bit further, the context was all around protecting yourself and your skin from the city’s harshness, the stresses of a busy life and the browning, aging effects of the sun.
The ads all featured beautiful Asian women with glorious, creamy and milky skin. Talk about aspirational AND talk about effective.
While most of the women in Singapore and Bangkok are already beautiful, I can imagine ads like these on young females would have quite an impact. No doubt the queues and the crowds at the major department stores skin care counters reflect demand!
For Effective Produce Packaging, Be In Observation Mode All The Time
In addition to the main global brand creams, there is also strong support for traditional creams. There were two ads in the Cleo that caught my eye – simply for their uniqueness.
One was an ad talking about how Asian Bird’s Nest (a nest made from bird saliva) cream was a healing cream for the skin. There is an entire skin care range made from it.
But even more culturally different was the ad shown above. Take a close look at the bottom right. See what I’m seeing? Yep, those are snails and this cream’s feature ingredient is Snail Secretions.
The ad states, “Snail Secretion is scientifically found to contain the following active ingredients, which heal and repair skin. Scars and marks will be lightened, pimples lessened and fine lines reduced.” Who would have thought?
Never Judge. Instead, Learn From What You See
The take away point for me:
• First, never judge. What is strange to one culture is important to another. Use observation to understand, but never to judge.
• Second, is if they can market Snail Secretion face cream for big dollars, surely fresh produce can grab a small sliver of the Asian facial beauty space.
The key in any market is to recognise the drivers that influence purchasing and find ways to incorporate the essence of the message into your produce branding and packaging.
For me, Snail Secretions skin cream was truly enlightening indeed.