Monday, 3 January 2011

Packaging perception: Twinings Blossom Earl Grey

In a brand-saturated marketplace packaging can be a distinguishing factor.
Customers can find thousands of packaged items on the supermarket shelves therefore packaging becomes an essential marketing tool that can work as a silent salesman.

Human Perception

The Customers are constantly overwhelmed by physical stimuli but the brain capacity to elaborate them is narrow.
Therefore Sensorial stimuli are filtered in order to avoid information overload.
According to the neuro-linguistic programming theory (NLP) the conscious mind takes only 134 bits of information per second out of about 2 millions of raw data picked up by senses in the same period.

NLP process.

The relatively small amount of information selected by attention filters undergo the process of interpretation which is the meaning that human mind gives to perceptual stimuli.
In order to get through the ambiguity of external stimuli the perceiver relies on a pattern of internal biases, needs and beliefs.

Human senses are not insulated but work together generating multisensory interaction, a condition in which senses create a multisensory image. This images are the basis for Hedonic Consumption which is the fantasy and emotive aspect of customer’s experience with products and packaging.

Blossom Earl Grey

Having solved the problem of survival, people need products which increase the pleasure of living. In some cases the hedonic attributes of the product are highlighted through the packaging design as in the case of Twinings Blossom Earl Grey tea.

The 14 cm tall cardboard box presents a refined artistic design.
A watercolour elegantly dressed young woman reminds the atmospheres of sumptuous receptions held by the aristocracy of the 19th century. 
Her pale skin and preciuous jewels are symbols of nobility and wealthy lifestile.
Her red lips stand out transmitting passion, femininity and pride.
The orange hair gives her a dreamlike appearance and, as well as the skirt, recalls the orange flower petals.
The woman carries a little green bag half hidden behind the back; it looks like a tea bag and she holds it like it's precious.

The figure in its entirety remembers the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt, one of the main members of Art Nouveau. This movement is strongly characterized by the use of floral decorations which are clearly connected to the name “Blossom”.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I; Gustav Klimt; Oil, silver and gold on canvas; 1907

Therefore, the message that Twinings wants to convey is that the Blossom Earl Grey is not common tea but a kind of artistic experience. The traditional Earl Grey is now enhanced with floral nuances which give the tea connoisseurs the pleasure of a new sophisticated tea but at the same time maintains the heritage of tradition.

How does this packaging grab the attention of the customer?

Firstly the colour contrast between the orange of the woman dress and the totally black background catches the eye of the purchaser.

Secondly the Twinings box design is different from the competitors’ ones. The other four main tea brands, which are PG Tips, Tetley, Typhoo and Yorkshire, rely on usual tea box colours such as green, white and red; as a result the Blossom Earl Gray box stands out.

In addition colours can assume meanings and be interpreted as relevant messages by the customer.
Orange radiates warmth and energy and can stimulate appetite and encourage socialization and is connected to the tea flavor generating olfactory sensations.
Black evokes sense of mistery and connotes elegance.
The gold of the Twinings logo connotes prosperity and wisdom.

Brand Name

The Twinings fonts are similar to the Times New Roman type created for the Times newspaper in 1931.

The sealing of the Royal Warrant Holders Association Is prestigious and guarntees high standards of service.

The words “Limited Edition” are synonym of exclusivity and short time avalaibility.

Twinings is a reliable historic brand. This new orange flavoured tea maintains the features of delicacy and freshness of the classic Earl Grey. Twinings wants to respect tradition and maintain high quality standards even when a new product is introduced.

In conclusion...

In its entirety, the box appears elegant and sophisticated and can heavily influence the purchase decision.

In order to catch this sophisticated message, the customer must be well educate and share a pattern of good attitudes towards art, little pleasures and special products.

Therefore the target for this premium special tea are the A, B and C1 women between 25 and 54 years old. According to MINTEL(2009) this group of costumers is the core of special an herbal tea drinkers.
Speciality teas such as Earl Grey have benefited from a increase interest by discerning tea drinkers who look for high quality but also want to sample a variety of products.


I Hope You're having a nice space jurney hitchhikers.
See you soon and thumbs always up!


>Mather, G. (2006). Foundations of Perception. Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press
>Microdot. (2008). NLP communication model. Available from
>MINTEL. (2009). Tea and herbal tea: market intelligence. London: Mintel International.
>Smith, K. (2001). Colorexpert. Available from Squiido:

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