New Look! Same Great Taste
Have you ever noticed the phrase “New Look! Same Great Taste” that lots of redesigned food packages boast?

You’ve seen it a hundred times. Most likely you never had trouble finding the product in the first place, but nonetheless, the text is there.

So, what purpose does it really serve? Do people think that because the logo is in a different position or the font is four points larger and now has a glossy Web 2.0 look about it that the taste has changed?

It’s really all about managing expectations. Now, I know that’s one of those corporate buzz phrases that gets thrown around when people don’t actually know how to express what they are really thinking so I want to step carefully through this with you to explain it in a non-cliché way.

First, consider that the marketing firms behind product packaging re-dos are typically some of the biggest and best there are; managing global brands and multi-million dollar campaigns.

Second, consider that they know how to do things right, since the have the benefit of long experience and the brightest minds in marketing.

Now, when a person is reaching out their hand to pick up a product to put in their cart, the last thing you want them to do is to pause. Even worse than that, to stop and think. This is where the message plays a critical role. In the moment that someone hesitates there is an inflection point, an opportunity in which it is easier to change their mind than when their arm is full-swing, on auto-pilot, throwing your tasty treats in their cart.

It’s fairly similar to the response you see when traffic slows down around cars parked on the side of a highway. They really don’t need to slow down but there is an object on an otherwise very smooth route that draws their attention. That object becomes a wrinkle in one’s normal smooth flowing ride or thought process. So they look. They wonder. They take their foot off the gas. That’s bad for traffic flow, and it’s bad for product sales. In fact, the highway planners would benefit to put up a sign announcing ahead of time, “Just a flat tire ahead. Nothing to see here. Please keep moving.” That pretty much answers the question in people’s mind.

A very nice book on web usability by Steve Krug, called Don’t Make Me Think, explains this principal in more general terms. It says that every time a person must make a decision, they are one step FURTHER from buying your product or using your services.

Back in the retail environment, by heading off the decision traffic jam with this reassuring and seemingly ubiquitous claim, the big guys get it right and keep the product moving right into a consumer’s cart.