A picture is worth a thousand words. This phrase has become a cliché because it is so self-evidently true. A multifunctional product's label allows the marketer to use words, pictures, and colors to shout the message, differentiate the product, and grab attention. The label or decorating affords the ability to graphically represent the product and to tell how or why it should be purchased and used. Verbal instructions are frequently more important for products of these types than for conventional products. Especially for products that require mixing of two or more substances, both the method and the reason need to be expressed. The marketer cannot assume that the consumer knows why the substances need to be separated before use. The information should be presented in a way that explains that the product is better because of the separation, that one part acts as a catalyst to the other, or that separation is required to deliver the product. To explain these differences and the label presentation, some examples are necessary.
KMS Research is a California-based manufacturer of professional hair care t products. For some years, they had a conditioning product called Hair Reconstructor (Fig. 3). The packaging for the original product was two separate half-ounce packets, much like ketchup packets, that the consumer or stylist would tear open, mix together in the hands, and apply to the hair. It was necessary to express clearly to the consumer that one packet acted as a catalyst to the other, and to retain the product's efficacy, the contents of the two packets needed separation until delivery. This was accomplished by labeling the packets "part A" and "part B" and by printing the top half of "part A" in beige and the bottom half in white, while "part b" was white on the top and beige on the bottom. The advantage that KMS had with this product was the opportunity for the stylist to verbally explain the benefits of the product and its function. Even so, the product had to be able to explain itself to the stylist. The KMS "Reconstructor" product evolved into a unique two-compartment dispenser whose function is explained in Sec. 2.2, the labeling and decoration, however mimicked the packet printing.
A fine example of catalyst separation and the labeling explanation is the two-chamber Liquid-Plumr package (Fig. 4). This "foaming pipe cleaner" product foams upon the mixing of the two ingredients. The label clearly shows the two products pouring as liquids from the bottle and becoming a dense foam flowing through the drain. The label's graphic depiction indicates that one of the ingredients is a foaming catalyst and that the product's components not only need to remain separate until use but that when activated, the product does something that others do not. In short, the label should communicate how the product functions, what it does, why it is multifunctional, and whether the ingredients are separate. A clear graphic is better than words, but a clear description verbally, preferably on the back panels, adds to consumer education.
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