Online Exclusive: Eye on Innovative Packaging

Amy Marks-McGee, founder Trendincite LLC, always has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends. Recently, Beauty Packaging asked her for her insights on innovative packaging in the cosmetics, fragrance and personal care industry.

BP: Perhaps now more than ever, the notion of innovative packaging has become a huge descriptor. What describes an innovative package? And how does it give a brand an advantage and directly affect a consumer’s choice of product?

AMM: Innovative packaging evokes a “wow” response and often creates an experience

The sculptural bottle created for the Donna Karan Woman fragrance was designed in collaboration with architect Zaha Hadid.
and interaction between the end user and the product. It can create a point of difference particularly on the shelf if the category is inundated with similar product offerings and end benefits. The aesthetics of a package can get the consumers’ attention and if the packaging makes the application easier to use or the experience more enjoyable it can motivate a repeat purchase. On the other hand if a package looks exciting, but is awkward to use, it can prevent a repeat purchase.

Innovative fine fragrance bottles, which are memorable and recognizable such as Jean Paul Gaultier’s torsos, Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers, and Donna Karan’s DKNY Be Delicious apples often create a following and are frequently collected because of their signature style and uniqueness.

BP: Is the consumer always aware of the innovation behind the package? Or is it sometimes more subtle?

AMM: I think it can sometimes be more subtle such as innovative materials used for packaging that create an intriguing visual aesthetic or a unique tactile sensation. Or perhaps the product is made using unique, eco-friendly repurposed material such as Method’s new Ocean Plastic bottle that is “a uniquely gray resin because of the combination of recovered ocean plastic and post-consumer recycled plastic.” It could also be the ergonomic shape of a package that creates an ease of use of applying a product.

BP: What trends have you noticed that can be described as Innovative Packaging?

Dual-functionality or multi-functionality and small travel-sized or individual dosed packaging that address consumers’ needs for convenience and on-the-go behavior seem to be popular trends in

Betsey Johnson's playful packaging for her Too Too Pretty fragrance is an example of the "whimsical" trend.
packaging. For example, Philosophy Full of Promise Treatment Duo - Uplifting Days and Volumizing Nights features a straightforward package; one side is a morning treatment marked by a sun graphic and the other side is a night treatment marked by a moon graphic.

Grand Central Beauty S.M.A.R.T Skin Perfecting Mask offers a unique “convertible container,” which features a travel dish, four mask powder capsules, four booster vials, a spatula and a band, all packaged in a large plastic tub. For a portable, single-use application, users fill the travel dish with one capsule, one vial, and a spatula and secure it with the band. The capsule cap also serves to measure one dose of water as part of the mask formula.

Playful, whimsical, iconic packaging that is fun is another popular trend. Many are targeted to a younger audience and distinctively associated with a brand or personality. For example, DOT by Marc Jacobs resembles a lady bug, while limited edition Hello Kitty Wild Thing Roller Girl highlights Hello Kitty’s head atop a black and white animal print embedded with crystals. Betsey Johnson launched Too Too Pretty as a flanker to her Too Too fragrance. The bottle uses the same signature feminine figure glass and lightning bolt tattoo, but is dressed in a different color tutu and fishnets. Nicki Minaj’s recent Pink Friday scent named after her debut album, is noteworthy since the bottle is a caricature of herself. The bottle features a bust with a gold face, signature pink wig and gold “Nicki Minaj” necklace.

BP: Are there any particular brands/products that stand out as being particularly innovative?

AMM: In fine fragrance, Lady Gaga’s Fame stands out because it’s the first black fine fragrance

Lady Gaga's Fame is the first fragrance with black juice.
that once airborne applies transparent on skin. It is reminiscent of Wode (Paint) - Eau de Toilette by Boudicca, which launched in 2008. The fragrance is packaged in a silver aerosol can resembling spray paint and when applied, the cobalt blue juice, which appears to stain your skin and clothes rapidly disappears. Also intriguing is Donna Karan’s collaboration with renowned architect Zaha Hadid for the bottle design of her new scent Woman. According to Hadid “the bottle examines sensuality and infinity; featuring a soft and sensual design that gently balances upon itself” and echoes Karan’s sentiment to create a scent for women by women who “believe women are multi-faceted, complex, and full of emotion and feelings.”

In nail care, the packaging for magnetic nail polishes is innovative. For example, LCN Magnetic Nail Polish offers an array of magnetic nail polish colors that can be used with four different magnet designs such as Diagonal, Curve, Snake, and Star, sold separately. Nails Inc. magnetic nail polishes feature the magnet incorporated into the cap, which creates a wave effect when placed over the dried nail polish.

In personal care, the applicators for Kate Somerville 360° Face Self Tanning Pads are innovative because they solve the long-term problem of staining hands when applying a self-tanning product. A user places two fingers in the sleeve of the pad and then applies. The individual package is not only novel, but convenient for those on-the-go and traveling.

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