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Bruised Brands

Given the choice between two equally good products I always will buy the product with the flashier packaging. It doesn't matter if that product is twice as expensive as its more understated counterpart. I know this is foolish, but I can't help myself. I am drawn to flashy packaging like a moth to a blazing porch light. It has gotten to the point where my wife has banned me from going to the supermarket out of fear I will put us in the poorhouse.

A lot of companies that sell commodity products count on people like me to help them retain or gain market share. Take Proctor & Gamble, which recently sued Kraft for infringing on the design of its Folgers Coffee canisters--which supposedly contain a number of innovations that preserve freshness (the canister also looks pretty cool). P&G admits the canister design has helped grow its Folgers business. And as consumers flock to gourmet coffee brands, P&G needs as much help as possible on that front. In a way, IP is keeping this somewhat staid and old-fashioned brand on life support.

staff Writer

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