Balancing Own Branding with Licenced Characters on Food Packaging.

Licencing and Own Branding on Packaging

cartons with licenced characters

This article discusses how the use of licenced characters on food packaging can greatly increase sales but asks will your own branding get lost as consumers focus on the character only? This was written by Bobby Patel, CEO of awarding winning British FMCG company, Appy Food and Drinks and was featured on the blog. We have summarised key points of the article below.

Large Increases in the Use of Licencing

Patel begins by explaining the reason for the recent massive increases in the use of licencing in food packaging (particularly in the area of children’s food products). He cites the reason as “the instant recognition of well-known licensed characters and the familiarity them, rewarding the new product and brand”.

Patel’s own company, Appy has used licencing to promote his children’s juice range, including the Peppa Pig character and the characters from the “Despicable Me” movie.

Peppa Pig character on juice cartons

It is a well-known fact that consumers are more likely to buy products or brands with which they are familiar. The presence of a well-known licence character provides this familiarity.

New products or brands that are unknown to consumers will of course benefit greatly – especially in the case of products aimed at the children’s market. This review from a UK parenting website gives an indication of the effect that the use of license characters have on children… the review states that the use of the characters on the packaging was the over-riding reason why the child wanted to try this product.

“Dylan loved them after an activity when he needed a good long drink – they are quite thin as they have a high percentage of water in each pouch. They are nicely packed and handy to carry round. Dylan was obviously more interested in the fact that they have a ‘Minions’ theme and ‘Despicable Me’ theme – his favourite !”

“Frozen” movie licenced products 

The author gives us an idea of the market value of licencing by stating that the amount generated by the Disney film “Frozen”  was $1.3 billion at the box office compared to a massive the $107 billion revenue generated from the licenced products.

Other benefits of licencing

  • Cross Promotion opportunities with other same licensed suppliers
  • On-going support from the licensors themselves
  • Easier to be listed by large retailers when they are a part of a larger store-wide merchandise plan.

Challenges of Licencing

Naturally there are challenges from adopting a licenced character – chiefly that it has to be managed carefully in order that the companies’ own brand is not eclipsed by the character. Patel says that consistency is the key to building a brand’s reputation because “consistent, desired experience … builds trust, and trust is the foundation for customer loyalty and promotion”

Bobby Patel’s Advice

  • All your advertising material and the packaging itself must be consistent
  • Your entire product range must have the same or similar colours and logo
  • Your product’s key message and ingredient attributes must be easily seen on the packaging
  • Customers must be able to identify what your product is or does
  • The licence character usually features on the front of the pack so the other sides of pack should be devoted to own branding, including the companies’ website (not the licensors’ website)

Achieving a Balance

Patel feels he achieved a successful balance between his own brand and the licenced characters by having images of whole fruit on the front of the packaging. This is in keeping with Appy’s message that their products are natural and don’t contain any GMOs, preservatives or chemicals. The use of the green colour also reinforced the Appy’s brand message.

You can read the full article here.