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A Short (Two) Thoughts on the Power of ‘K’


We all talk a lot about pack structure as the Holy Grail in packaging but in doing that we are in danger in being blind to the power of simple graphics. The example I want to use is Kellogg’s Special K.

Special K has a long history with a positioning associated with health and slimness and represents a product move for Kellogg’s away from wheat to rice; over the years the defining symbol has been the ‘K’. The image on the top of the page is from France which says it all in a way, the brand, the sector, recognition and communication. I say this because it is a purely graphics  device on the pack that is doing the key brand communications work. Special K has several pack formats or styles across greater Europe and here I share a few of them to compare the Power of K and their structures:

1 At the top is a mass display from France

2 Alongside here is the UK pack with a chamfered

vertical right front crease     

3 But consider this French version with a tertiary competitor who has printed curves both sides –looks like a chamfer

but is not…                          

4 And from Turkey a metallised flexible pouch that’s free standing through its gusseted bottom base           TR.jpg                                                             

Different markets have different packs and there is a battle for positions and country values pack adjustments but ‘K’ must be one of the most powerful graphics devices in FMCG, it seems to have the potential to work well on any pack. Messages that come through for me are that after long time promoting the brand, 1) simple graphics branding can be very powerful, 2) the success of this is done without special decoration techniques, sure Kellogg’s standards are high but this is not new or special (pardon pun) decoration that is achieving this result.

One caveat to challenge all this philosophising for me is that Special K and cereals are synonymous, so when I saw this ‘K’ pack recently –it’s on the left here- and its classic pack format I thought it was cereals in the snack arena. I was wrong; it is a snack version from the brand.

An interesting conundrum, Special K = cereals and are we –or is it just me- find the format association so strong in that it overrides product; Marmite used its black and bright yellow typography to extend the brand and it opened up new products and pack formats. The ‘K’ is powerful but will it need alternative –the market norm- pack formats to strike acceptance in other sectors and categories, or can Special K in its traditional cereals format –structure and branding- gain market share and gain all the associate cost benefits too?

As I say, A (two) Thoughts.

  • Tags: Graphics, Kelloggs, Special K

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