The Daily Heller: Packaging 101.1

Posted inThe Daily Heller

You may remember in the 1980s when Camel cigarettes were advertised in magazines and billboards using the Joe Camel mascot, all dressed up in cool threads and made to physically resemble certain genitalia. The suggestive promotions were, it was argued by anti-smoking advocates, designed to appeal to a younger, impressionable generation—a ploy to grab their healthy lungs and fill them with deadly toxins.

Companies believed that the way to an underage consumer’s heart was through comic imagery and ultra-cool packaging. And the lesson was: It worked.

Could that be why the Danish brewery Mikkeller’s Side Eyes pale ale, which features cartoon faces, looks the way it does? London’s Met Police have complained that the vibrant illustrations appeal to children. 

The cans, designed by artist Keith Shore, don’t really distinguish between alcohol and soft drink, a trope that has been trending of late. The package design agency, The Portman Group, acknowledged to The Daily Mail, “this was particularly cartoon-like and reminiscent of Minecraft, which was popular with under-18s.”

So goes the pop-top.