Retro look is making old packages look new

Some CPG companies are bringing back package designs from decades ago as a way to distinguish multiple product tiers and engage brand loyalists through social media.

A recent trend spotted on store shelves: A few companies are going retro, returning to packaging of bygone times, to evoke nostalgia in consumers and generate incremental product sales.

Canadian retailer Loblaws is reverting to packaging it used in 1978 for its No Name brand on products including panty hose. The packaging is simple—a product name in black lower-case typeface against a lemon-yellow background.

Now, WD-40 Co., San Diego, CA, is getting into the act. An article on says the company is turning back the clock with 1950s-style packaging that adorned cans of its venerable WD-40 all-purpose lubricant. The yesteryear-style cans come as part of a two-pack, packaged with one same-sized can featuring today’s WD-40 brand design.

The limited-time-offer twin-packs are marketed in what appears to be a festively decorated shrink wrap marketed with the Now & Then theme.

“The collector’s can represents a rich heritage and America’s love affair with the WD-40 brand,” says Tim Lesmeister, vice president of marketing for WD-40 Co.

There is no one reason for the go-retro strategy. Loblaw’s thought is to reintroduce its old packaging to establish different tiers among its private-label product lineup. For WD-40, it’s all about celebrating a brand’s rich heritage, and also giving loyalists another touchpoint with WD-40 through its online fan club.

More in Home