Nielsen has announced the winners of its inaugural Nielsen Design Impact Awards, an industry recognition that monetizes the true value of package design. Five award winners and two honorable mentions, out of hundreds of submissions, successfully redesigned the packaging on products considered American pantry staples while also driving impressive, sustained growth in dollar sales post-launch. In collaboration with The Dieline, the design community’s largest online resource, Nielsen looked far beyond ‘pretty packaging’ of hundreds of submissions to celebrate the brands that led product design makeovers to more closely align with the dynamics of today’s shopper …  reflecting the (de)sign of the times.

This year's contest recognized seven seriously successful package redesigns in the fast-moving-consumer-goods space – ones that have helped to drive significant increases in brands’ bottom lines. They represent a wide range of business situations: a category giant in rapid decline, a timeless brand whose packaging had run out of time, an iconic favorite that embraced the upside, a niche brand that managed to win over the masses, and more.

The winners

Grand Prize: Lean Cuisine Marketplace (Nestlé)

Top Winners: Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky (Diageo); Honest Tea (Coca-Cola); Perdue Short Cuts (Perdue); California Olive Ranch Olive Oil (California Olive Ranch)

Honorable Mentions: Cheez-It (Kellogg); Black Ink Wine (Gaurachi Wine Partners)

“The new design was the No. 1 reason the Lean Cuisine brand was able to turn itself around – we went from declining sales to significant sales gains even before we turned on media support,” says Daniel Jhung, vice president of marketing at Nestlé USA. “The bold new Marketplace packaging signified a major pivot away from our 'diet' heritage toward our new modern health and wellness partner positioning, motivating consumers to re-engage with our brand again. This complete turnaround demonstrates the power of investing in effective package design and designing it with consumers in mind."

Package redesign is the zeitgeist that shapes how consumers touch, feel, experience and remember a product. It often doesn’t get the attention it deserves compared to other marketing tactics mediums given its difficulty in attributing sales impact to package redesigns. For marketers, package design presents another unique opportunity to reach loyal (and new) consumers in a meaningful way, especially when budgets are ever dwindling for ad/media spend.

 “Package design often doesn’t get the attention or respect it deserves compared to other marketing tactics. One of the root causes for this oversight is that it’s difficult to attribute sales impact to package design,” says Steve Lamoureux, senior vice president of product development for Nielsen’s Design Solutions. “Given Nielsen’s vast data assets, we knew we were in a unique position to demonstrate the power of effective package design and celebrate the brands who are really embracing its potential.

The winners were recognized on stage at the HOW Design Live Conference in Chicago last week.

In 2017, Nielsen created The Nielsen Design Impact Award to highlight the considerable impact that effective package design can have, and to celebrate brands that are elevating the role of packaging in the marketing mix.