That was the question in the mind of Packaging World's editor when he heard the following: "Rather than being the soul of the brand as it is for us today packaging may become a secondary-level implementation." The comment came from Dorothy Deasy at the recent Flex-Pak '97 conference held in March near Chicago. The conference was sponsored by Schotland Business Research (Skillman NJ). Deasy is research director for Cheskin+Masten/Image Net (Redwood City CA) the consulting firm that has long specialized in packaging research. The context for Deasy's remark was her identification of three trends: simplicity mobility and the cyberlife. The latter she says is what may drive packaging down the ladder as a less-important method of communicating product information or brand identification. "More and more brand communications and transactions will happen over a two-dimensional screen....Consumers will get used to interactive conversational customized presentations" Deasy predicts. Still she opines "Those brands which remind us of us by meeting our needs transcend the status of commodity and move into our homes. Anticipating these needs by tapping into the trends allows us to see and do what our competitors do not." Proceedings of Flex Pak '97 are available for $395.