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A BIG WOW FROM WHITMAN'S

Imagine a big box of candy. Now imagine a very big box, so big that it's outside of a normal framework and looks like a prop instead of a package that's for sale, a mock-up of a box of candy, or something Andy Warhol painted after he finished his Campbell Soup. The box is something you might notice and think about, but not something you'd buy.

This 40-ounce box measures 23" x 13" x 3". On a regular supermarket shelf, it looks out of place -- like it belongs in Costco or a special store for clowns or on the shelves with huge packages of toilet paper. When I noticed the super-size Whitman samplers on an end aisle, I shook my head, and went on to stand in the checkout line. I don't like Whitman chocolates, and haven't purchased a Sampler in years, but something made me turn around and look at it a second time and decide that my kids and grandchildren would think the giant sized box was cool or funny for Thanksgiving and I went back and carried one carefully to my cart. After I put it in my cart, the shopper behind me went back, got one a box for her basket, and thanked me. Then another women went back and got a box for her basket. She thanked me too.

I think they were thanking me for demonstrating that this oversized box was actually something that was okay to buy and might be fun to give.

I think the package is cool and fun, and that the ShopRite price of $16 made it a good gift value. I also think it's too much of a stretch (pun intended) to sell well without some positioning -- a picture of holiday family sharing candy from this super box would have helped sell a lot more. Any bigger, and I couldn't have gotten it from the shelf to my shopping card. As it was, I had to stand it on end or diagonally to fit in the cart.

My kids and grandchildren loved it. But when a package is too far from the norm, in this case too big to be a real box of candy, marketers should supply some in-store advertising to help shoppers stretch their minds to accommodate it.

 

 

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