Price Realization Through Creative Packaging

Take a look at the picture below. Can you tell which container is 2 quarters and which is not? Or are they both same?

These are indeed two two different sized containers. One is 2 quarts and the other is 1.8 quarts. The taller one is the 1.8 quart container. What is happening here is price realization through creative packaging. Customers are trained on the price they pay – more often they buy a product at a price the more they become tuned to any price changes. The price they remember becomes their reference price – any increases over reference price will be seen negatively. So brands use the only other lever available to them for better price realization : reduce their marginal cost by 10-20%.

For the same price or even a little lower price, customers will get smaller package than they usually get, effectively paying higher price. But it cannot be done without regard to customer perception of size. While customers are more tuned to the price, they are also tuned to sudden size reductions.

The proven principle in creative packaging is, “Super-size in 1-D, down-size in 3-D”.

that changes in size appear smaller when products change in all three dimensions (height, width, and length) than when they change in only one dimension

In this case Tropicana seem to have refined the earlier findings – “Downsize by reducing the cross-sectional dimensions while increasing the linear dimension“.  As you can see, the width reductions are hardly recognizable but the height increase is very obvious.

Is this wrong? Ben and Jerry’s thought so. We have seen this in the battle between Ben and Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs. Ben & Jerry did a “A pint is a pint” campaign which they later discontinued. But I do not see anything wrong with this approach as long as the real volume is printed clearly so we can make informed decision.

The trouble however is we are not Homo Economicus, we are susceptible to nudges and cognitive biases.

Where do you stand on creative packaging?