Holiday Gift Packages at the LCBO Look for a Home

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A large selection of premium wines and spirits gift packages lack creativity and innovation, according to a new report by one of Toronto's package design firms.

A new report by one of Toronto's package design agencies illustrates the lack of innovation in most premium wines and spirits' holiday gift packaging. A large selection from last year's offerings are still available at the LCBO's flagship Summerhill store, some at a discount.

Everyone is familiar with the traditional or standard offering: a bottle and two glasses inside a large colored cardboard package; complete with plastic window and styrofoam interior. In some cases the ante is upped with a wooden box and even a metal latch. But for the most part, each idea detracts from the value impression the brand has established. Is this a good thing?

Brian Bell, a media executive with an interest in both fine wine and premium brand spirits, usually has reservations about browsing the holiday gift packages in the LCBO for his clients. For one, he would prefer to give something designed to make an impression. As well, it has to be more than "just a bottle".

Unfortunately, most of the holiday packaging for both wine and spirits do not live up to this aspiration -- and observing his childrens' reaction to some of the product offered proved very revealing. "Most of the holiday packages look cheap, and even downright chintzy," he said. "Even my 14-year old had critical opinions about the appearance of various packaging."

It's not only the packaging that leaves a questionable value impression. Mr. Bell had some observations on some of the holiday bottle concepts as well. "What amuses me is that what doesn't appeal to me does to my 10-year-old daughter," he said, "and it makes me wonder just who some of these brands are marketing to."

"Marketers are not paying attention to their customer experiences at holiday time," says Tim Robertson, creative director of BigCity, a packaging design agency. "Not only are the standard holiday packages unappealing, they create a negative experience when extraneous packaging has to be discarded after opening."

Some companies are taking a more creative approach to their holiday packages, however. The 2006 Starpack Awards featured some innovative ideas for both the vodka and premium scotch categories. And other brand managers have made plans for a more enhanced product experience with their holiday packages in 2007.

But for the most part, it will be the same treatment, if only because holiday packaging is seen as a decorative container for product rather than as a fully developed creative concept.

"It's unfortunate," said Mr. Robertson, "because it's not only missing a chance to enhance a product's brand value, it's also the missed opportunity to create some market buzz during a very social time of the year."

For your free copy of the report, "Wine and Spirits Holiday Gift Packages: An Opportunity", contact Tim Robertson: tim@bigcitygraphics.ca. For ideas on how you can stand out with design innovation and research, visit BigCity.

About BigCity
BigCity Graphics, Inc., is a package design agency located in Toronto, Ontario. It creates effective, innovative brand and package design solutions for products in a cluttered marketplace.

Media Contact:
Tim Robertson, Creative Director
BigCity Graphics, Inc.
direct line: 416-593-1239
BigCity Media Page

Company Contact:
Tim Robertson, Creative Director
BigCity Graphics, Inc.
direct line: 416-593-1239
BigCity Website

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BigCity
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