Box Vox

packaging as content

March 31, 2011

Richelieu Fruit & Vegetable Cans

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A collection of Richelieu cans from 1933. (via: iCollector)

Richelieu fruit & vegetable cans (25), sealed metal cans w/colorful paper labels, made for a supermarket exhibit at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, de-acquisitioned by the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry…

Sold in 2009 for $900

Note: the metallic gold banding. (See also: Sweet Peas & Fleur-de-lis)

RichelieuProducts Founded in 1862, Richelieu made a variety of products, besides canned fruits. [see inset] It was one of the brands manufactured by Sprague, Warner & Co., who put out a 66-page history of their company in 1912…

HAVE you ever noticed a Sprague, Warner & Company salesman when it is suggested that another line of food products is as good as the Richelieu? Nine times out of ten his reply will be, “Let’s compare the goods.”

from “Sprague, Warner & Company, Incorporated
Written for Sprague, Warner & Co., 1912 by Mason Warner

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Note: the vintage hyperbolic sales pitch. If Richelieu’s ghost writer were writing this today for a television commercial, he would probably resort to catch-phrase shorthand like, “Bring it on!”

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

March 30, 2011

Grape Nuts: Packaging as Wardrobe

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In 1930, Grape-Nuts ran the ad (below, right) comparing their new package to a new dress. Signaling a shift from muscular, anthropomorphic boxes endlessly insisting “There’s a Reason” (for eating Grape-Nuts, that is) to a less dour (less manly?) sales pitch… (via)

Post-better-10-01-1930-075-M5 Probably the millions of people who enjoy Grape-Nuts would like to know why the package has been changed…

Well, the chief reason is that we wanted to make the package brighter, gayer, more suggestive of the fresh deliciousness of Grape-Nuts…

Maybe your grocer hasn’t received the new packages as yet. It takes time to distribute over the whole country, you know. But whether you buy Grape-Nuts to-day in the old package or the new package—the food itself is the same delicious food… and the new package has the same generous quantity as the old.

Maybe not the first company to ever equate packaging with clothing, but if packages are dresses, then Grape-Nuts now must have a closet full of them…

1950-60GrapeNuts Top, left: from Mr. Breakfast; top, middle: from Hakes.com; top, right: from Mr. Breakfast; 2nd row, left: detail of an ad from Grickily’s Flickr Photostream; billboard on bottom from Roadside Pictures’ Flickr Photostream

The evolution of Grape-Nuts boxes from the 1950s through the 1960s shows a shift of target demographic from men to women. Culminating in the 1960s television ads which featured adult women being mistaken for their teenage daughters due to the figure-enhancing effect of Grape-Nuts for breakfast. (The Billboard above with the tape measure around a slim-waisted Grape-Nuts box is part of that “Fills you up, not out” campaign.)

1970sGrapeNutsPhoto on left from: bolio88’s Flickr Photostream; on right from: Gregg Koenig's Flickr Photostream

RecentOn left: from bluwmongoose’s Flickr Photostream

Interestingly, the demographic pendulum seems to be swinging back the other way now…

“We need to bring it back to life in a relevant way,” says Kelley Peters, the “insights” director who charts Grape Nuts psychographics for Ralcorp’s $5 million resuscitation attempt. Her target: men 45 years old and up. “Men aspire to it,” she says. “It’s strong and stern, the father figure of cereals.” Her marketing chief, Jennifer Marchant, points out: “It tends to break your teeth sometimes.

No Grapes, No Nuts, No Market Share: A Venerable Cereal Faces Crunchtime
Barry Newman, Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2009

Although, there’s a reason that, in the 1950s, Grape-Nuts touted a new product improvement on billboards and packages: “New! Easier to chew!”

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

March 29, 2011

The Grape Nuts Anthro-Pack

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At top, an illustration from a Grape Nuts ad showing the benevolent ministrations of an anthropomorphic Grape Nuts box for a sickly man. (Note: the flasks by the bed. Medicine?) (via)

The newspaper item on left is from the NY Times, February 28, 1904. I’m guessing that, at that time, there were no editorial rules in place requiring “Advertisement” to appear above. The same “story” appeared in a number of periodicals around the same time.

The ad on the right shows Post’s “The Road to Wellville" pamphlet or “keen, little book,” which T.J. Boyle entitled his book after—about Kellogg’s “Battle Creek Sanitarium.” (Note: C.W. Post spent time in Kellogg’s Sanitarium)

This Little Book FREE.

A Keen, Snappy Little Book
To be Found in Packages.

A copy is placed in every third pkg. of

Grape-Nuts

One of the best known surgeons in America voluntarily wrote a 2-page letter favorably analyzing the healthful suggestions in “The Road to Wellville.”

Some profound facts appear that are new to most persons.

Get a pkg. and study the little book. It wins its own way, and adds to your stock of knowledge.

“There's a Reason”

ReBuildBrain SteadiesaMan
More Grape=Nuts anthro-pack ads (via)

(One more Grape Nuts anthro-pack, after the fold…)

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March 28, 2011

Cereal Box Books

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Top left photo: from My Handbound Books Etsy Shop; other photos: from Eco Books by Terry Taylor (via: Cutout and Keep)

Cereal box books by Rhonda Miller:

“These are quite small. The notebooks are just 4½" x 2¾"… I deconstructed the All Bran Cereal Bar box, and refolded it to make it fit the two notebooks. We seem to have a lot of Kellogg’s products in our pantry.”

Rhonda Miller
My Handbound Books, July 24, 2008

(Two more recycled-packaging books from MyHandboundBooks’ Flickr Photostream, after the fold…)

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March 25, 2011

Climax Catsup

ClimaxCatsup Photo from eBay: “Climax Catsup” bottle from the Loudon Packing Company. (for some reason, this bottle is available from the same seller for either $12.34 or $35.00)

With the enactment of the Pure Food & Drug act in 1906, Catsup manufacturers were drawing fire for labels that claimed their Catsups were made from “Pure Ripen Tomatos” but in most cases were actually made “from a filthy, decomposed and putrid vegetable substance and from tomato pulp screened from peelings and cores.” (The Law of Pure Food and Drug by William Wheeler Thornton)

Charles F. Loudon’s factory in Terre Haute, Indiana (where Climax Catsup was bottled) played a pivotal role in changing all that.

The first two products bottled at Loudon’s Terre Haute facility were “Climax Catsup” and “Loudon’s Catsup.” … To prevent contamination, cookers were glass-lined and the pipes were porcelain-lined.

… With little government control over labeling or content, catsup, or “ketchup” as it was called by many manufacturers, consisted of just about anything.

…As early as 1882, national periodicals warned consumers to avoid using commercial ketchup.

…No one in the catsup industry was more active in promoting fine tomato products than Loudon. In 1902, he submitted a carefully documented paper… addressing the need for preservatives in the manufacture of catsup.

Loudon reported he had tried to make preservative-free catsup but received complaints from grocers regarding fermentation soon after opening. As a result, he urged the association to adopt guidelines for the use of harmless preservatives.

… [he advocated] the use of benzoates as preservatives. He was supported by other major ketchup manufacturers, including H.J. Heinz Co., Richard J. Evans and Glenn Mason.

Harvey Wiley, chief of chemistry division at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, disagreed. … Dr. Wiley believed benzoates were dangerous…

Wiley enlisted two scholars to discover how to produce a preservative-free catsup: Dr. Arval Bitting… and an associate Katherine Golden.

…In 1907, the Bittings asked if they could use the Loudon Packing’s Terre Haute plant — reputed to be the most modern in the U.S. — to conduct their experiments. The Bittings were extremely impressed with “the Loudon method.”

(Excerpt continues, after the fold…)

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March 24, 2011

Cake & Kleenex Boxes

2CakeBoxes4KleenexCakeBoxTop left photo: from TheCraftyBuffet; top right from: TheGirlyGirlCooks

We’ve seen these prism-shaped Kleenex boxes before. Once as sliced fruit (“Perfect Slice of Summer”); once as felted tissue box covers for Christmas.

Recently they used the wedge-shaped boxes to represent 3 slices of cake and one slice of cherry pie (“Divine Desserts”). Here, as with the fruit slice boxes, the Illustrations were done by Hiroko Sanders whose “attention to detail in cake texture and decoration,” we are told, “came from hours of research in bakeries and her own kitchen.”

These boxes may be the perfect shape to represent a slice of cake, but as tissue packaging, the connection seems more than a little tenuous. (In contrast, say, to Martha Stewart’s cake-shaped cake-mix boxes.)

KleenexCakes And yet… there may be something at work here that we don’t fully understand.

Remember last year when we looked at package-shaped cakes? Well, tissue boxes are among those consumer packaged goods that also exist in cake-form. There are, in fact, many people who celebrate Birthdays and other holidays with cakes shaped like Kleenex boxes.

Some prefer their Kleenex cakes with branding intact. (As the two cakes on the right will attest… upper cake, from CakeCentral.com; lower cake, from CelebratewithaCake.com)

Others want their cake to be of the debranded, domestically-enhanced type. For those people, there are tissue box cakes, frosted not with logos, but with edible tissue box cozies. (See: Kleenex Christmas Packs)

Normal_KleenexBoxCakefrom CakeCentral.com

TWiNKiE-Chan

Which now brings us to Twinkie Chan who crochets tissue box cozies (example on left) that resemble pieces of cake.

What sort of cake would she prefer? Her birthday cake (made by Debbie Does Cakes) is what you see on the right. As she explains it in her 2009 blog entry

“It’s a cake modeled after my Layer Cake Tissue Cozy….so it’s a real cake that’s supposed to look like a fake cake.”

Put another way: it’s a cake disguised to look like a tissue box wearing a crocheted cake disguise.

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

March 23, 2011

X-Ray Vision and Cereal Boxes

VitaCrunchCereals

Vita Crunch cereal boxes by Mark Oliver, Inc: brilliant use of product photography on packaging to clearly signify contents. (Can’t think of a more logical product differentiation scheme.)

Even the type treatment, with its strokes & drop shadows, though fairly common in the context of cereal box typography, here serves to heighten the illusion that each box is transparent. Giving consumers a trompe’l'oeil moment of X-ray vision. (See also: Packaging & What Lies Beneath)

Doesn’t seem as if these boxes were ever produced. Sadly.

(Via: PopSop)

Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

March 22, 2011

Package Design Conveyor Belt

Now open for business: our new web site features this interactive, conveyor belt style shelf showing Beach Packaging Design’s portfoilio. (Mouse over at either end to see more)

On the actual web site the small packages serve as the menu for selecting larger images. (Here they just convey themselves back & forth for your amusement.)

If you‘re in the market for some package design, please stop by.

Feel free to browse, but be careful. (You break it—you buy it!)

March 22, 2011

Vincent Pacheco’s Cigarette Pack Paintings

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Portraits of cigarette packs by artist & graphic-designer, Vincent Pacheco.
(via: MKTG)

(A few more package-related paintings by Pacheco, after the fold…)

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March 21, 2011

Bosco Milk Amplifier

BoscoJarsLeft: photo of Clown-Cap jar from Collectologist’s Flickr Photostream; Center photo of Bear-cap jar from Blog d’Elisson; I forget where I found the Bosco Rabbit bottle, but it seems like there may have been some intellectual property theft between this rabbit and the NesQuik Bunny

I like Bosco’s oddly audio tagline: “the Milk Amplifier.” Like it had something to do with electric guitars or something. As it happens, Bosco was among the products that were manufactured here, back when there was still some manufacturing on Staten Island.

“My father worked in that plant in all its permutations — Bosco / Wallerstein’s / Baxter — for over 25 years until it closed. We had cases of Bosco in our garage! The factory was/is located off Walker Place not far from the expressway leading up to the Bayonne Bridge.”

(I now forget which “memory-lane” online forum this quote came from)

The clown and the bear derive from the circus motif used in some of their advertising.

(Some Bosco TV commercials with giant jars, etc., after the fold…)

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