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Scientists at the VU University and Amsterdam School of Communication recently found that products having atypical packaging increased the attention of consumers. According to the researchers, such packaging makes consumers scrutinize product claims more strictly. This boosts the efficiency of strong claims, they say, while reducing the customers’ eagerness to shell out money for weak claims.

Statements about quality control or flavour are included in strong claims while statements about alternative product sizes or “new formulas” are included in weak claims.

Researchers found that the effectiveness of strong and weak product claims on the package is influenced by whether the package design is atypical or typical. They wrote it in a journal named ‘Food Quality and Preference’.

In case of atypical packaging, strong claims caused a higher quality judgment. However, with weak claims, consumers were found to show lesser willingness to pay. It showed that atypical packaging may not always be helpful for product assessment.

Atypical Packaging May Not Always be a Recipe for Success

The scientists presented design alternatives of a ketchup bottle to 102 university students through an online test. They found atypical designs made participants looking longer at the product claim because of the increased processing of product information.

In case of weak claims, participants were found to be unwilling to pay for the product. However, strong claims with an atypical design too didn’t result in an increased willingness to pay. This was quite contrary to what the researchers had expected. It was found that typicality of a design didn’t have a strong effect on the consumer’s purchase intention, irrespective of the strength of claims.

In case of perception of quality, researchers experienced the reverse of the results of the intention to pay. Strong claims on a product with atypical design increased its perception of quality. Weak claims didn’t have any significant impact on quality perception.

A number underlined the role of visual observation in the consumer decision procedure. The study shows that attractive packaging can be harmful when presented with semantic components of poor quality.

The study concluded that it’s important to consider the interaction between various kinds of packaging cues when calculating how these cues affect the assessment of products.

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