How Ad Imagery Could Translate Into Product Packaging

The stack of magazines was impressive. Elle, Vogue, Architectural Digest, Bon Appetit and People. As a 13-year old, I just wanted to fixate and rip, fixate and rip, fixate and rip. Slowly, I was adding to my expanding wall collection, and I was proud. How were the ‘best’ images selected, and what made them ‘iconic’? What mattered to me at the time—creativity, originality, colour, composition—made it onto my closet doors, locker and school binder clear insert. If I could think of these images in my sleep, they became iconic. I will never forget one in particular. The triangular red and white logo juxtaposed against a black and white photograph of a girl pouting while a man anticipates… 

What intrigues us about this image? Almost instantly, we find ourselves peering in, linked to the experience. We sense she is in the wrong place; however, we do not feel that she does not belong or would rather be elsewhere. Time and space are interrupted. We ask ourselves, “Will it occur?” But the chain of events does not matter. What matters is that we are suspended in a rare and captivating moment. And because the image is black and white, we are transported to the exact scene where the ‘film’ unravels. Then the bold red of the typeface and the logo bring us back to life, and we are suddenly alive; the advertisement has won us over…without a guess!

If we know that people can impact an ad’s efficacy, should we consider using people on food packaging? Could we use the interaction between a man and a woman on a coffee bag, for example? In my opinion, yes. Imagine this. A tired corporate executive finds herself standing in a Whole Foods Market. There is no one around. Soft music flutters in and out of her ears. She is standing in the coffee aisle, looking at bags and bags and bags. There’s so much unique packaging, she’s not sure what to choose. But then she sees it—a couple set in black and white. The photograph is beautiful; the packaging seems bound by eternal love as the image wraps fully around the product. It portrays something the executive longs for on a deeper level. “I’ll go for this,” she thinks, grabbing it to pay.

Using people in ad imagery is not a new concept, but could potentially be an innovative idea in the food and beverage domain. We know that ads are geared to make us think and feel. And there’s a whole range of themes emotional ads can trigger, from love to empathy to excitement. I don’t think I’ve ever spent valuable time and money on a product that didn’t trigger an emotion somehow. Even if it may go unrecognized—the power and influence of an emotional experience are unforgettable.

Should packaging portray a feeling using images of people? And if so, what are the most effective ways this can be executed?

Farm Stories – Goat’s Pride Dairy

Milca (teammate) and I spent the afternoon filming on location at Goat’s Pride Dairy.

I arrived earlier, still late, but feeling excused because of the weather. I was greeted by a girl in a salmon-coloured romper, and then shortly, another young girl looking much the same presented herself smiling. They could have been twins, but one was taller and wore a hat I could not stop examining. For my life, I forget what Jo-Ann (matriarch of the Dykstra family) called it, but alas, it was some sort of hat slash cover used to protect the face and hair from harsh elements.

I asked a quiet girl sitting on a step if she knew where Jo-Ann could be. She turned out to be the farm gardener. I asked the young girls. It was only after they cautiously pointed me in the direction of the bathroom, that I noticed a small house set stoically aside an apple tree, which the girls promptly proclaimed, “That’s the shop! She is probably in there!”

And there I found her. She had an easygoing air and quirky smile and laugh. Jo-Ann Dykstra was stocking fridges for ‘social media’, which I thought was brilliant. I appreciated that she was still preparing her farm for our visit. We had a brief introduction, then went off on our ways. I had to check if Milca, my filmmaker, had arrived, and Jo-Ann was probably considering a few other things to wrap up before filming commenced.

Other family members started to appear; each one donning a bright blue t-shirt with amusing imagery and text that accurately explained the context of their ubiquitous smirks. It was fun and again very thoughtful and made a tremendous blue background for certain shots, primarily in the greens or browns.

And so she finally arrives, with all her equipment. I am mesmerized by her calm and friendly demeanour, telling myself in my head, I need to be more like Milca. We filmed for the next 3 hours, if not more. The processing room where we witnessed son Jason laboriously creating goat mozzarella (Mt. Lehman Cheese Co.). The interview portion on the backyard veranda. The goats inside their cozy home. A new baby goat only four hours old. And best of all, daughter and grand-daughter milking the herd. Finally, a quick visit to the babbling brook known as McLennan Creek, also the name of their store as prescribed on a handmade wooden sign.

It was a great experience. It felt like I was at home, as a boarder or wanderer travelling across British Columbia who finds a remote place that offers up service, work and a sprawling, farm-set playground. It was almost too hard to leave, sharing a last-minute conversation with Jo-Ann about their upcoming open house.

If you have a chance, visit their farm and experience goat farming first hand. You will be welcomed, and I guarantee, the two young farm managers will greet you with open arms, maybe matching outfits as they did us today. You’ll want to explore and find out what a smallholding agricultural operation is like.

I am just being introduced to the world of agriculture, and I am astounded every day. I look forward to learning more about farming in the future!

Here are some photos I captured. We will be sharing our first Farm Stories video soon, so stay tuned!