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Will packaging's role in marketing diminish?

Was it just "something to think about" or a genuine prediction?

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.

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