Selling by putting the face: the packaging with human face

How many times have you heard speaking about the matter of building a human relationship with the customer?

Nowadays thanks to the social media, for many commercial activities became a common thing putting the face. Becoming humans expressing in a natural way.

In case of the social media we speak about communication and marketing that every company should build “around” the product.

But when we speak about the product and we analyze the reality in the store, we realize that the elements to communicate the human side exclusively fall on the packaging.

“Here again the packaging is the protagonist in the decisive moment of the purchase. It is the crucial factor to make the difference on the choice and increase your sales”.

The packaging with its structure, graphic elements and the naming helps to shorten that preventive distance that the customer wants to keep before their final choice. Their “yes, I will buy it”.


Can packaging give a face to your products?

Try to close your eyes and think if is it possible?

The answer is yes, and the most egregious results if you open your eyes, are in front of us!

In some cases we have to do with a real personification of the packaging which goes from the naming to the image itself.

When then the company image, the product image and the naming coincide with a precise human representation (and real) we obtain a real powerful formula to communicate to the customer.

In these cases the product automatically recalls a series of precious attributes which would be very difficult to perceive with the sound of advertising slogans.

Defining own product as genuine, authentic or result of an artisan process (just to make some examples) it is not enough to evoke in the mind of the consumer the real value of these definitions.

Certainly, associating it to a real face or name can generate deeper sensations.

Moreover we build our life on social relationships and attributing a face and a name is always the first step for a new relationship. Also when we speak about a product.

It is not always easy and possible, but when it is possible to associate a name and an image to a product or brand itself, why can’t do it? Especially if in our category nobody has done it! I can’t define this communication as innovative, but it is certainly little exploited for its potentiality.


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It is impossible not to think to the Italian case study of Giovanni Rana (who is well-known all around the world).

His name, his face and his image are on the packaging of all his line products, advertising campaigns, dedicated exhibitors and on any company communication.

For the customer, the company, the product, the intelligence and the flavor has got a name and a face. In this case they correspond to the real name and to the authentic image of the entrepreneur.

When we don’t have the luck of exploiting in one shot all these elements we could work with our fantasy.

An excellent example is “Uomo Del Monte”:

  • Does he exist?
  • Is he real?
  • Does he really control the quality?
  • Will he effectively say “yes”?

The truth could be this one: initially an owner of orchards in Argentina existed, he used to cut the fruit with his Opinel and he personally tasted the harvest, later he had received an offer from the multinational Del Monte and sold everything. After the purchase the marketing of Del Monte modelled to his image the brand.

I am sure you are wondering if this is the truth, but it doesn’t matter!

It doesn’t matter because for the final customer exists a face and an image and these elements have got a very strong impact!

Finally, if we can’t use a real or realistic image, also the simple evocation of a person through a focused naming can do a good job.

Now try to think about the hoof of Dr Scholl’s, do you remember it?

Do you remember the figure of the Doctor? Even if you thought for other 10 minutes surely you couldn’t do it, because they have never presented him. At least not with a visual, not an image, honestly I can’t say if he really existed, if I had to bet 1 euro I would say “no”, but if only the name is synonymous of professionality, try to think what if the marketing had made him real.

A really unique case study…

Some years ago when I was in New York I discovered on Walmart’s shelves the products of Newman’s Own. I was immediately impressed by the face of Paul Newman. Strange testimonial and strange story of this line of food products (from pizza to pasta).

In 1982 Paul Newman decided to lend his image to launch a line of food products whose revenues would go to charity. He made the Newman’s Own, a no profit company. In this case the popularity of the face approached the customer to the product, just like I did that afternoon when I approached it on the shelf of Walmart. It is clear that Paul Newman doesn’t cook or make recipes, but the well-known face resulted and results anyway successful.


I would like to summarize with some examples these 3 types of packaging which are able to evoke a human image associating it to the product:

1. Real image

A real person is exploited and this person represents the product, the company and his story.

It is the most powerful choice to communicate a strong sense of reality(authenticity).

The person is directly related to the company, often it’s the founder and this makes authentic at 100% the message.

Example: Giovanni Rana


2. Image of fantasy

It is exploited a plot device which has got all the characteristics of a real human image. The customer doesn’t precisely know where the reality ends and where the commercial narration starts, but anyway the perception is that of relating to a real person and not with a company.

Examples: Uomo Del Monte, Capitan Findus, Birra Moretti, Pasta del Capitano


3. Naming without image

A simple naming naturally evokes the association to a real person. Even without seeing a human face we associate the product or the brand to a human presence.

Examples: Le conserve della nonna, Dr Scholl’s


Once again the perception of customer are inside a vault, and the packaging can be the right key to unlock it.

I have made some examples of famous brands to think on companies and brand which are well-known, but also smaller companies with less famous products could take advantage from this process.

Certainly keep considering the packaging as a pack which just responds to a simple practical need (containing the product) means renouncing to what became the biggest opportunity for any company: communicate through the product directly in the place where the customer takes their final choice. Communicating in the store and perhaps doing it in a different way from your competition.

Just few companies have understood this concept, let they realize it late and play in advance taking a double advantage!


Contact us to understand how a dedicated work on the packaging of your product could radically change the perception that the customer has got about you or your company and increase exponentially your sales.


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