Pill packet functionality

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December 23, 2014

by Vicki Meagher


It’s that time of year again… no, I’m not talking about Christmas! Cold and flu season is gracing us with its presence and our office is ringing with the sound of coughing and sneezing (as opposed to sleigh bells!). As I’ve been reaching for my usual remedies, it’s made me think about the way our over the counter medications are packaged. 

Whilst I appreciate that there are a number of constraints and necessary regulations when it comes to packaging for pharmaceuticals to ensure safety, I can’t help but think that a lot of brands are missing a trick! All in all, the category seems pretty lacking in pack innovation. One glimmer on the horizon though, is GSK’s Panadol brand, which is leading the way with their ‘pouch’ design. It’s a case-like pack with the instructions printed on either side of the case so there are no annoying leaflets folded around your tablets. It’s slim, robust and portable shape means it is unlikely to get squished in the bottom of your bag or desk drawer.

MMR’s Brandphonics philosophy tells us that in order to be successful and generate true customer loyalty, manufacturers need to create products that convey the same emotional and functional messages at each consumer touchpoint - brand, pack and product. Given that we want our medications to be trustworthy, reliable and effective it seems that so few manufacturers have applied innovative thinking to the packaging these remedies are presented in.

From my own perspective, there’s nothing more frustrating than opening the cardboard pill box to find the information leaflet staring back at you – I don’t know about you but I never seem to be able to open the end that accesses the blister pack! You then have to contend with the blister pack seal – some of them are so tough to pop open that you end up breaking/squishing your tablet (depending on your chosen format). Whilst these are clearly both there for a reason, examples such as Panadol go to show that breaking away from category norms and investing in packaging can improve the overall consumer experience. It would be nice to see some more convenient solutions to make life easier when you’re feeling less than your best!