Flip the Switch

Continuing on with my packaging brigade, I found the work of German designer Jorn Beyer on Ignant today. Jorn has taken an interesting approach to rethinking the way certain liquor brands should be encased, raising the question of how dependent one's identity is to the container it is bound to. Certainly, the trademarks above are very well-known and their bottles recognizable across the spirits industry. But when these contents are placed inside standard beverage cartons, what becomes of them? What effect do they then have on consumers?

This discussion was something Jorn strived to encourage in his series titled Ecohols. It opens up several points including the idea that once a product has been conceived, born, and accepted into the general public, a drastic change in appearance is one that could be met with massive confusion. The oblong shape of the Absolut bottle is one that is so unequivocal that to see it in any other form could cause cognitive disruption. A second facet is that from a marketing perspective, a brand must be unique and individual from its competitors so consumers can distinguish from one to the next without difficulty. Having each liquor in duplicate packaging effectively reduces that character, and even though the identity of each is exclusive, each brand is seen as a subset of a parent, not standing alone.

On the flipside, the same notions could be said for placing milk and orange juice into regular liquor bottles. Would consumers then see those items for what they truly are, or would their judgment be clouded by the thing that houses it? With these further investigations raised, the human psychology of decision making is one that never ceases to amaze us.