Never underestimate the power of packaging and design to influence consumer attitudes—and if you're lucky, move product.
This lesson is brought to you by Miller Lite, which enjoyed a sales spike after it began shipping its beer in '80s-style cans last year, originally as part of a tie-in with Anchorman 2. A large number of folks apparently prefer their beer wrapped in retro white labels instead of blue, which has been the brand's primary hue for the past dozen years.
Maybe the throwback cans simply struck a nostalgic chord, or perhaps the shiny labels stand out on retail shelves. Whatever the case, it's had the curious effect of making consumers think the product itself has improved—which it hasn't.
"A lot of people said, 'I think the beer even tastes better,' " Miller exec Ryan Reis tells Bloomberg Businessweek.
Unsurprisingly, the brewer has decided to make the white labeling permanent, even extending the color scheme to its bottles and bar taps. Alas, after initially bubbling up, sales of Miller Lite have settled. In fact, they're down 1 percent for the 12 months that ended Aug. 10.
At this point, the label fad may have run dry.