The Effect of Print Advertisement Packaging on Consumer Behavior

Dr. Ramesh Kumar Sharma*
A D Lamba**

Introduction

India has a long tradition of newspaper advertising since the time the daily newspapers were published first in the nineteenth century. B. Datram and Company was established as the first ad agency in India in 1905, followed by India Advertising Company in 1907, the Calcutta Advertising agency in 1909, S.H. Bensen in 1928, J. Walter Thompson Associates through its Indian partner, Hindustan Thompson Associates in 1929, Lintas (Lever Universal Advertising Services) in 1939 and McCann Erikson in 1956. The first full-fledged advertising agency in India started working in 1931.

The growth and development of Indian advertising have been slow during the pre-independence period. Just a couple organizations were in the advertising business lacking professionalism. Before the First World War (1914-1918) most of the advertisements were planned and placed by foreign manufacturers. During that time the newspaper circulation was increasing because of the people’s interest in the war-related news. After the war, the Indian business sector was flooded with merchandise that gave a lot of support to daily newspaper advertising with more space being saved for advertising.

In a study of global media advertising revenue in 73 countries, MAGNA GLOBAL estimates that ad revenues grew by +5.5% this year and will reach the half-trillion mark ($512 billion). Advertising sales will grow by +4.8% in 2015 to reach $536 billion.

The Indian advertising market showed strong growth this year (+13.2%) following two lackluster years (2012: +4.6%, 2013: +8.0%). The general elections that took place in the first part of the year generated massive incremental spending primarily benefiting television. The outcome of the election, bringing a new BJP-led government to power, improved business and consumer confidence, which prompted an increase in the 2015 ad growth forecast to +13.3%. The new government is committed to investing billions to connect millions of rural Indians to broadband internet through a plan advertised after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Print advertising

This is one of the most popular forms of advertising. Print ads can have many forms– newspaper and magazine ads, bills, wall posters, banners, calendars. The installation and the success of the first linotype-printing machine by the Statesman in Calcutta in 1907 proved to be a great impetus to the industry. In a few years, other newspapers too installed this machine. Printing became cheaper, quicker, and better. The first ad agency was established around this time.  Print ads can be categorized as classified and display ads. Classified ads provide valuable information in a very direct and often dry manner. They contain only basic facts. You must have read information about property markets, shares, matrimonial, detective agencies, housing, births, and deaths in the classified pages of most national dailies. Display ads are bigger and take more space. They are often very colorful and contain attractive images. Glossy magazines usually carry many display ads.

Packaging in print ads

In marketing literature, the packaging is a part of the product and the brand. A product’s package represents its characteristics and communicates the product information. For consumers, the product and the package are one and the same when they see it on the supermarket shelves. During the purchasing decision, the package assists the consumer by creating the overall product perception, which helps the evaluation and the making of the right choice. Furthermore, the package is the product until the actual product is consumed and the package is recycled.

The package design adds value to the package and to the product. Design elements such as colors, font, text, and graphics have an important role in package appearance. Pictures on the package in the form of attractive situations (mountains, beaches, luxury houses, and cars) can assist in triggering lifestyle aspirations (Rundh 2009, p. 999). At the point of purchase, the primary role of the package and packaging design is to catch the consumers’ attention and to stand out among the competition in the store or at the supermarket.

Successful package design and the packaging itself is the result of the involvement and the work put out by marketers, designers, and customers. Hence, the packaging is a major instrument in modern marketing activities for consumer goods. Prone (1993) thinks that the package can attract the customers’ attention, communicate the company’s name and image, differentiate the brand from competitors, and enhance the product’s functionality (Garber & Burke & Jones 2000, p. 5). Therefore, the package itself acts as a decisive communication tool and provides consumers with product-related information during the buying decision process.

Positioning may include different elements which depend on the positioning strategies. This can be global, foreign, and local consumer culture positioning where the attributes such as design, package, and performance can have different functions and purposes. However, the main goal of positioning is to provide a successful presentation and explanation of why consumers should buy a particular product. Therefore, the package and packaging design aim at consumers’ attention, whereas the positioning helps the company to place the products properly in the market.

Objectives of the study

The main objective of the study is to understand the impact of packaging elements like design, artwork, color, and messages communicated through advertisements on the consumer.

Research design

The survey method has been used for collecting primary data. “When the survey method is used, respondents representing a specific population are asked questions concerning their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Their answer is analyzed to describe the characteristics of both the respondents and the populations they were chosen to represent. “Survey methods have appeared to be the most suitable because it involves large samples to get information/opinions regarding the work.

A questionnaire was structured to seek information from the respondents. It included closed- as well as open-ended questions. Questionnaires were administered personally and email.

Universe, sample, and sample size

The universe or population of the present study for the study ‘Packaging Desire in Print Advertisements’ was spread in all the four directions, north, south, east, and west, of Delhi. The sampling unit of the present study is the students of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University Delhi and their parents only. For the present study, no pre-selection was assumed and the sample size is fixed. A total of 400 samples were selected to arrange data which included 200 male and 200 female respondents.

Sampling technique

To meet the requirement of the study, to maintain objectivity, and to give equal opportunity to each sample random sampling was selected as the method of study.

Research questions and discussions

How often do you purchase products by looking at the ad or its package?

 

Male

Female

Total

%

Often

60

88

148

37

Rarely

85

92

177

44

Never

55

20

75

19

37% audience out of the total sample size of 400 often purchases products just by looking at the ad or its package. While 44% of respondents say that they rarely focus on the package before purchasing products, 19% never give importance to the packaging of the product.

Do you understand fully what message is being communicated by the ad or its package?

 

Male

Female

Total

%

Yes

93

127

220

55

No

26

44

44

11

May Be

81

136

136

34

A majority of 55% (male and females) out of a total of 400 fully understood the message being communicated by the ad or its package. However, 11% were unable to understand the message of the product which is communicated through advertisement. And 34% of the respondent were uncertain about the message of the product.

Are you able to relate to the message in the advertisement?

 

Male

Female

Total

%

Yes

108

122

230

57

No

27

20

45

12

May Be

65

58

125

31

As per the analysis, 57% (male and female) audience relates to the message in the advertisement. 12% of the respondents do not, while 31% say they are sometimes able to relate and sometimes fail to do so.  

Do you like the pattern or the design of an ad?

 

Male

Female

Total

%

Yes

99

120

219

55

No

23

15

38

10

May Be

78

65

143

35

A majority (55%) like the design patterns of an advertisement and 35% of males and females indicated a mixed opinion about the design and pattern of advertisements. While 10% of respondents are clear that they don’t like any pattern of the design of an advertisement.

Do you like the artwork of the product displayed in the ad?

 

Male

Female

Total

%

Yes

130

127

257

64

No

22

18

40

10

May Be

48

55

103

26

Another question related to the artwork of the product display in advertisements elicited mixed views but there is a clear majority in favor of artwork which 64% of the total of the 400 respondents. 10% of audiences clearly reject the idea of artwork in advertisements, while 26% of respondents are not sure.

Conclusion

From the information collected from the respondents, it is acknowledged that the consumers are involved in the process of selecting the design elements. The customers are tested by using different designs to examine their perception, preferences, and attractions. In the quantitative research of the current study, consumer perception and attraction were investigated and certain results were obtained.

The package design is very important for the decision-making process. During the purchasing, the package helps the consumer to evaluate the product. The design of the package communicates information about product quality. Its material and simplicity of use can assist consumers in choosing a particular product. The artwork is an essential element of a packaging design that drives consumer attention and influences the purchasing decision.

The packaging design elements have different impacts on the consumer. Some of them catch consumer attention; some of them stay ignored. However, the findings show that different designs attract different elements. The package designs used in the questionnaire provide the evidence that design elements such as graphics and image, color, product information, and the shape of the package play different roles. The package characteristics such as size, shape, and message are important concerns from the logistics point of view. The advertiser’s task here is to create the package design which will meet the logistics desires and which will appeal to consumers at the point of purchase. 

References

* Associate Professor, Madhu Bala Institute of Communication and Electronic Media, 
Affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University Delhi
** Deputy Registrar, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University Delhi

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