Until very recently, it was common to see people carrying shopping bags boldly printed with the name of the store where they made their purchase. These branded bags were like walking endorsements, broadcasting where the person liked to shop.
That’s becoming less the case now. More people are shopping online and receiving their orders by mail in plain padded envelopes stamped UPS or FedEx or with an Amazon arrow. More importantly, many municipalities are trying to cut down on litter, conserve resources and keep plastic pollutants out of waterways by charging for single-use shopping bags. In cities like San Francisco, responsible shoppers never enter a store without bringing their own reusable cloth sack. This is much to the chagrin of marketing pros who long considered shopping bags a handy surface to plug their brand.
Now it looks like the only marketing opportunity left is the humble hang tag. Not worthy of much design effort, hang tags have been a place to relate facts like size, price, care instructions, manufacturing materials, website, UPC code, etc. Display of the brand name and logo is often perfunctory, with the expectation that the buyer will immediately cut off the tag and toss it out. But what if serious effort went into designing the hang tag? What if it exuded style and brand personality? What if it was printed with special effects like embossing, fluorescent inks, and foil stamps? What if the text was interesting to read? Maybe then shoppers would take a moment to appreciate the marketing effort – and remember the brand.