Above: Science World museum in Vancouver, Canada, put out a magnificent ad campaign illustrating various science facts.

When the Message Is the Medium

Posted May 13, 2015, under Gee Whillickers!

Last week we talked about the care and precision that goes into even such prosaic marketing materials as cereal boxes. To continue in a similar vein, we’d like to point out another oft-overlooked fact: Materials.

What you make your promo out of — as well as what you make with it — can make a huge difference in its effectiveness. Today, we’re going to cover a variety of examples.

Festina Watches

When Festina wanted to highlight how durable and waterproof their watches were, their marketing folks came up with this ingenious solution.

Presumably while staring at the goldfish they won at the county fair.

Yes, that is a wristwatch in a bag of water, and yes, it smacks of a marketing stunt – but packaging should serve a marketing purpose. Anything that helps get the word out about your product is your ambassador, and perhaps none more so than the product itself.

Thelma’s

Sadly, this wondrous small business is based out of Des Moines, Iowa. We really wish they would franchise to Los Angeles, because we devoutly believe the world needs more Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Zombie Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream sandwiches.

But the marketing genius that caught our attention was the design of the boxes in which they deliver their oven-warm cookies.

“Oven-warm cookie delivery” is a real thing that is happening in a place that is not our office.

It’s one of those things that seems obvious and simple in retrospect — but that is a hallmark of brilliant marketing. It’s clear from both packaging and business model that Thelma’s has some above-average intellect on the payroll.

Anti-Theft Lunch Bags

Produced by Big Mouth Toys, which also produces a wide array of clever novelty items, these aren’t quite the same kind of marketing as the other items on this list. But for the kid dealing with lunch-stealing bullies, it’s exactly the right kind of marketing.

Nike Air

Nike’s line of “Air” shoes have been around since the late ’80s, so it makes sense that creative thinking might be needed to invigorate sales. So they introduced packaging that made the most of a classic brand name.

Tide Detergent

Sometimes, though, the trick isn’t such a splashy gimmick. As the story goes: back in the day, Proctor & Gamble did extensive research to discover what would catch the eyes of shoppers. They used various packaging mockups and filmed the actual eye movement of folks coming down supermarket aisles.

It seems that they found that bright, yellowy orange was a total eyeball magnet, and that has been the classic color scheme of the brand for decades.

Studies are still ongoing regarding the colors’ effect on driving performance.


Rigney Graphics is a Pasadena graphic arts company that can help you create an impact with design and marketing solutions for print and web.