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More Than a Pretty Package

Nielsen Honors Package Redesigns That Impact Bottom Lines

Package design often doesn’t get the respect it deserves compared to other marketing tactics. It’s certainly not the “newest new” thing, and its value is notoriously difficult to quantify. That said, effective package design does deliver real, measurable business impact. That’s why we created the Nielsen Design Impact Award, which recognizes some of the most impactful redesigns over the last two years within the fast-moving consumer goods space.

The Nielsen Design Impact Award is the first U.S. package design award to leverage retail performance data as part of the winner identification process. As a complement to retail data, we surveyed thousands of consumers to assess how well each redesign addressed its core communication objectives and to gauge purchase preference for the new packages over the old ones.

From among hundreds of submissions, Lean Cuisine Marketplace was selected as the grand prize winner. The brand’s new design encouraged consumers to see Lean Cuisine as a modern health and wellness partner, rather than a “diet” brand. For the Lean Cuisine Marketplace line alone, this design makeover helped drive a sales increase of $58 million in the year following the redesign compared to the year prior—a significant amount for a large brand innovating in the declining frozen food category.

“The new design was the No. 1 reason the Lean Cuisine brand was able to turn itself around—we went from declining sales to significant sales gains even before we turned on media support,” said Daniel Jhung, vice president of marketing at Nestlé USA. “The bold new Marketplace packaging signified a major pivot away from our ‘diet’ heritage toward our new modern health and wellness partner positioning, motivating consumers to re-engage with our brand again. This complete turnaround demonstrates the power of investing in effective package design and designing it with consumers in mind.”

The Nielsen Design Impact Award winners provide a powerful counterpoint to the anti-change marketing doctrine that prevents brand managers from making package improvements. In the case of Buchanan’s Scotch Whiskey—a timeless brand that hadn’t updated their packaging for nearly 25 years—change was a very good thing. In making a case to do something bolder, James Hernandez, global brand director for Buchanan’s at Diageo, said: “We needed to take a bigger chance, or we would’ve been back in the same position in a few years’ time.” Across markets, Buchanan’s average value growth increased by 20% the year after the redesign compared to the year prior.

While our winners certainly aren’t the only package designs that made a meaningful impact on bottom lines, they are some of the more extraordinary cases. Find out who else won a Nielsen Design Impact Award this year, and access in-depth winner interviews.

This content is made possible by Nielsen; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the HOW Design Live editorial team.