New! Improved! …. and old?

I will admit.  I am a sucker for retro design.  And yes, I have also been known to purchase products that have retro design even though I really don’t need the product.  Here’s example one.  Here’s example two, although that sack did hold a bottle of wine and I’m pretty sure I needed that.  However, I did make a point to visit one particular liquor store for that wine because I knew that they would put it in that awesome bag. So that, my friends, is how I will go out of my way to buy retro-looking products.

Yesterday I ran across this article: New! Improved! Products That Look Very Old –  It’s interesting to me the trends that product designs go through over time, and in the last year or two, I’ve noticed that more and more products are opting for older or original designs.  The article points out some of the examples, but there are many others.  Mountain Dew and Pepsi unveiled their “Throwback” cans a couple years ago, which are still around despite their claims that the design was for a limited time only.  Tide has come out with simpler, cleaner boxes that aren’t as bright as flashy as the newer design, but it’s for that reason that they stand out on the shelf.  The muted colors and uncluttered design sets it apart from the rest of the crowd.

Packaging used to be fairly simple — a brand name and a slogan.  With Tide, it used to be “A washing miracle.”  No over-the-top language (unless calling detergent a “miracle” counts) and crowded graphics.  You have the brand and why you should buy it.  Cha-ching!

Of course, nowadays we can’t get away with such simple wording on a packaging.  Today’s retro box has to have the text in both Spanish and English, and warnings must exist on the side about how you shouldn’t sprinkle Tide on your breakfast cereal or into your eyes.  (People must have been smarter fifty years ago.)

Although the marketing departments of various companies are finding that although the retro products hit home with the “older crowd” (and us retro-loving weirdos), younger buyers tend to shy away from the older packaging.  I suppose it reminds them of something their grandmother would purchase, and because they are young and hip and so NOT their grandmother, they are going to buy something that’s all new, better than ever, 2 oz MORE for the same price, better than that “other” brand, and the best damn product that they’ve ever purchased in their entire lifetime.

What — too much?

I’d settle for a washing miracle.


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