Patent application title: SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR INFORMING CONSUMERS OF PATTERNED OR TEXTURED PRODUCTS
Michael A. Ross (Dallas, TX, US)
Michael A. Ross (Dallas, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65B6100FI
Class name: Package making methods forming a cover adjunct or application of a cover adjunct to a cover
Publication date: 2009-03-26
Patent application number: 20090077927
The present invention provides a system and method for providing a sensory
experience for a consumer. The present invention contemplates product
packaging containing a retail product that has one or more characteristic
surfaces. A sample is affixed to the exterior surface of the product
packaging to provide a user with an illustrative simulation or
representation of the characteristics of the retail product such as
textures or patterns.
1. A system for providing a sensory experience for a consumer,
comprising:a product packaging defining an interior cavity;a retail
product located in the interior cavity of the product packaging, the
retail product having at least one characteristic surface; anda product
sample affixed to an exterior surface of the product packaging, wherein
the product sample provides an illustrative simulation or representation
of the at least one characteristic surface of the retail product, wherein
the retail product is a plastic trash bag.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein the retail product is a plastic film product.
5. The system of claim 1, wherein the retail product is substantially comprised of a paper material.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one characteristic surface comprises a textured surface.
7. The system of claim 6, wherein the textured surface is different from an ordinary texture of the retail product.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one characteristic surface comprises a patterned surface.
9. The system of claim 8, wherein the patterned surface comprises an arrangement of geometric forms.
10. The system of claim 1, wherein the product packaging comprises a sealed container, and wherein the sealed container does not permit a consumer to physically contact the retail product located in the interior cavity of the product packaging.
11. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one characteristic surface is an embossed surface.
12. The system of claim 1, wherein the product sample provides a three-dimensional simulation or representation of at least one characteristic surface of the retail product.
13. A method for providing a tactile experience for a consumer of retail goods, comprising the steps of:providing a retail product having at least one characteristic surface;packaging the retail product substantially inside a product packaging; andaffixing a sample to an exterior surface of the product packaging, wherein the sample provides an illustrative simulation or representation of the at least one characteristic surface of the retail product, wherein the retail product is a plastic trash bag.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein the retail product is a plastic film product.
16. The method of claim 13, further comprising the step of sealing the product packaging, wherein a consumer cannot physically contact the retail product.
17. The method of claim 13, wherein the sample is manufactured from a material that is the same as a material of the retail product.
18. The method of claim 13, wherein the retail product is substantially of comprised of a paper material.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to packaging and containers for retail products. More particularly, the present invention relates to a system and method of providing a prospective consumer with a tactile and visual representation of a retail product's texture, physical properties, or design patterns.
2. Description of the Related Art
Retail product packaging comes in a variety of shapes and configurations. Many products are sold in product packaging that uses a combination of paper cardboard and clear or translucent plastic. When the retail product is packaged with these materials, the consumer is able to visually observe the product inside the packaging. However, cost considerations and/or structural integrity of the packaging often require that the container instead be manufactured using low-cost/high-strength corrugated cardboard or other opaque materials.
Retail product packaging serves an important role in the merchandising and retailing process by providing the consumer/prospective consumer with important information relating to the retail product itself. If the product packaging utilizes a clear plastic window or enclosure as previously mentioned, a consumer has visual access to view part of, and possibly the entirety of, a retail product. This visual observation can have a profound effect on the likelihood of the consumer purchasing the particular product. On the other hand, when a product is not visible because of the product packaging used, the consumer must rely more on the packaging itself to make a purchasing decision.
Retail product packaging often features a myriad of full-color images and text appearing over the majority of the product packaging. The images and text provide the consumer with critical information about the nature and performance of the retail product. Images may also be used to provide the consumer with an impression of the characteristics of the retail product, including the product's texture or pattern. As an example, breakfast cereals and other food products frequently use enlarged imagery to communicate the texture of the food product to the consumer. Accordingly, a consumer may be driven to make purchasing decisions on whether a particular texture is perceived to be desirable. However, images alone typically cannot effectively convey certain product characteristics, such as the contours and feel of the texture or pattern, to the consumer.
Tactile experience is also known to have a positive effect on increasing sales of many products. In many cases, retailers may provide a working or non-working exemplar of the product, allowing the consumer to experience the product in a controlled environment. This technique is common in the electronics and appliance sectors, where consumers want to operate and manipulate the product before making purchasing decisions. This tactile experience can significantly enhance the likelihood that a consumer will purchase the product. However, this technique is only practical in the event that sufficient space is available to demonstrate the product, when the product is durable enough to handle repetitive use, and when the consumer is able to operate the product in a manner that simulates actual use.
Retail packaging may also provide a way for a consumer to tactilely experience the product by touching or feeling the actual retail product prior to purchase. In certain retail categories, such as children's toys, the product packaging may allow a consumer to touch or operate a product through an opening in the product packaging. The tactile experience of a plush toy can again have a positive effect on the consumer's purchasing decisions. Indeed, consumer sensory experiences of the retail product, whether through visual observation and/or tactile interaction, typically have an impact on consumer purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, however, tactile interaction with the product is simply not practical nor feasible in certain retail contexts.
In some retail categories, consumers want reassurance that the product has not been tampered with or otherwise damaged prior to purchase. This consumer desire has resulted in a wide range of tamper-resistant and tamper-proof product packaging, especially in the food, drug, and household product categories. These sealed retail packages prevent people from tampering with or otherwise damaging the retail product, thus enhancing consumer confidence that the purchased product will be effective and that it has not been altered since it was manufactured. However, sealed retail packaging also prevents the consumer from experiencing the product prior to making a purchasing decision.
When visual observation of, or tactile interaction with, a particular retail product is not practical or reasonable, it would be advantageous to provide sensory experiences to the consumer in an effort to positively influence purchasing decisions. Therefore, it would further be advantageous to provide a multi-dimensional sample of a retail product on the exterior of product packaging, especially for packages that are sealed or tamper-resistant. Moreover, it would be advantageous if the multi-dimensional sample emphasized the retail product's characteristics, such as the material, texture, and/or pattern. Indeed, this would provide a potential consumer with sensory experiences in both a tactile and visual manner that would far exceed the experience provided by the traditional 2-dimensional imagery used on product packaging as known in the prior art.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The following description and the appended illustrations set forth in detail certain illustrative embodiments of the present invention. These embodiments are only exemplars of some of the various ways in which the principles of the present invention may be employed. Therefore, this disclosure provides an outline, in rather broad terms, of the features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated.
The present invention provides a system for enhancing sensory experiences for a consumer. Some embodiments of the present invention contemplate a product packaging that defines an inner cavity in which a retail product is located. The retail product will have at least one characteristic surface. A sample is affixed to the exterior surface of the product packaging to provide an illustrative simulation or representation of at least one characteristic surface of the retail product.
Some embodiments of the present invention contemplate retail products that are substantially comprised of plastic material, such as plastic trash bags, but also retail products substantially comprised of paper materials. Similarly, some embodiments of the present invention also contemplate the characteristic surface, or surfaces, of the retail product to be a textured or patterned surface. Textured surfaces may include any conceivable texture, but especially contemplates textures that are imparted into the material, i.e. textures that are not natural textures of the material used for the retail product. Furthermore, patterned surfaces also include the arrangement of geometric forms to form the patterned surface. The characteristic surfaces, including textured or patterned surfaces, may be imparted into the material through the use of an embossing process, or any other method that generates a three-dimensional simulation or representation of the characteristic surface(s) of the retail product.
Yet another embodiment of the present invention contemplates a method for providing a tactile experience for a consumer of retail products. The contemplated method includes providing a retail product having at least one, if not more, characteristic surfaces. A sample of the retail product may be affixed to an exterior surface of the retail packaging for providing an illustrative simulation or representation of the characteristic surface, or surfaces, of the retail product.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
The preceding summary of the invention, and the following detailed description of the illustrations, are intended to provide a better understanding of the general principles and concepts of the present invention when viewed with reference to the preferred embodiments shown in the illustrations. It is understood that the present invention is not limited to the particular embodiments and precise arrangements disclosed herein. Rather, the appended claims are intended to more accurately describe the scope of the present invention. Furthermore, the illustrations are not necessarily to scale, with emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the present invention. Finally, the illustrations are provided with various reference numerals, with like reference numerals designating corresponding parts throughout the several views.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a product packaging according to the present invention.
FIG. 2A is a perspective view of an example of a particular product that might be provided in conjunction with the present invention.
FIG. 2B is a plan view of a tactile product exemplar as contemplated by an embodiment of the present invention with respect to FIG. 2A.
FIG. 3A is a plan view of another example of a particular product, an embossed plastic sheet, that may be suitably used in conjunction with the present invention.
FIG. 3B is a plan view of a tactile and visual product exemplar as contemplated by another embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The following discussion is presented to enable a person skilled in the art to make and use the present invention. The general principles described herein may be applied to numerous embodiments, including applications other than those detailed below, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The present invention is more generally defined by the appended claims. Therefore, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiments shown, but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and features disclosed herein in view of the prior art.
Referring now to FIG. 1, an example of the system contemplated by the present invention is illustrated for providing a tactile and visual simulation and/or representation of the retail product to a potential consumer. The system contemplated by the present invention can be provided for any particular type of product packaging 100. In the illustrated embodiment, the product packaging 100 is a box-like container manufactured from cardboard to provide the necessary rigidity and strength for a relatively heavy retail product (not shown) contained inside the product packaging 100. The product packaging 100 has a plurality of side walls 102, 104, 106 and 108, a solid, interlocking bottom panel 110, and a pair of top flaps 112 and 114 for sealing the product inside the box. The product packaging 100, as a whole, may be tamper-resistant, in the sense that when sealed, using an adhesive or other suitable means, a person cannot access the retail product itself, which is in the interior of the product packaging 100, without breaking the adhesive seals.
In addition to the imagery and text that may be provided on the product packaging 100, a potential consumer is provided with a tactile sensory experience for the retail product by affixing a product sample 150 to the exterior surface of the product packaging 100. The affixed product sample 150 is a representation or simulation of the product, thereby providing the consumer with additional visual and tactile information relative to the retail product. As will be discussed more fully with respect to FIGS. 2A, 2B, 3A, and 3B, the product sample 150 can be manufactured in a variety of different ways with any number of different materials.
In some embodiments of the present invention, the product sample 150 may be manufactured from the exact same material used to manufacture the retail product. The source material may be cut into a plurality of product samples before being affixed to the exterior of the product packaging 100.
In other embodiments of the present invention, a modified manufacturing process may be used in conjunction with the actual material of the retail product to provide a product sample 150 with physical properties and characteristics differing slightly from those of the actual retail product. These embodiments contemplate providing a product sample 150 that may be accentuated relative to the retail product, emphasizing certain properties, traits, or characteristics of the retail product. For example, the product sample 150 may be enlarged or reduced relative to the retail product to emphasize a particular texture or pattern. Similarly, the product sample 150 may also accentuate embossed or engraved patterns in the material, giving pronounced emphasis to the amount of vertical relief in the product sample 150 compared to the actual product.
In yet other embodiments of the present invention, the product sample 150 may be manufactured from material that differs from the material of the actual retail product, yet conveys similar visual and tactile properties. In these cases, the product sample 150 may, for instance, be manufactured using a material that is more durable or thicker than the material used for the retail product. As an example, if the retail product is manufactured from a thin, polymeric material as used in a plastic trash bag, it may be desirable to use a thicker plastic or paper material as source material for the product sample 150. This may be necessary due to the rigors of transportation and the exposure of the product sample 150 and the product packaging 100 to a multitude of potential purchasers.
It should be understood that although the illustration in FIG. 1 generally depicts a solid, rigid, and box-shaped product packaging 100, the present invention contemplates a variety of other materials and shapes that may be utilized for the product packaging 100. For example, it is contemplated that the present invention may be utilized in combination with product packaging 100 constructed or manufactured using materials such as, but not limited to, cellophane, corrugated cardboard, or rigid plastic. Furthermore, the present invention can be utilized with product packaging 100 of essentially any shape or size, as long as the sample may be suitably affixed, in some way, to the exterior surface of the product packaging 100.
In addition to the variety of product packaging 100 contemplated by the present invention, it is also contemplated that any number of suitable methods may be employed to affix, either permanently or temporarily, the product sample 150 to the exterior surface of the product packaging 100. As discussed subsequently, the present invention preferably employs an adhesive on the rear surface of the product sample 150 to affixing it to the product packaging 100. However, a person having ordinary skill in the art would instantly recognize that numerous other methods and techniques can be used to affix the product sample 150 to the product packaging 100.
Referring now to FIG. 2A, an example retail product is shown. In this particular example, an illustration of a textured and patterned product 120 is shown as the example retail product. The particular material of the retail product is not of any particular importance to the operation of the present invention, and may therefore be any textured material such as paper or plastic film. The illustrated product 120 has a plurality of textured ridges 122 forming a cross-hatch or diamond pattern.
Referring now to FIG. 2B, a product sample 150 corresponding to the product 120 of FIG. 2A is shown. Although not shown, it is clearly contemplated that the product sample 150 would be affixed to the exterior surface of the product packaging 100 as illustrated in FIG. 1. As mentioned above, the method of manufacture and choice of material used to produce the sample material 154 can be the same or different than those used in the manufacture of the particular product 120.
This particular embodiment of the product sample 150 also comprises a backing 152 on which the sample material 154 is mounted, to provide additional rigidity to the product sample 150 as a whole, if such additional structure is deemed necessary. Furthermore, the backing 152 may be provided with an adhesive on the opposing side to allow the product sample 150 to be affixed to product packaging 100.
Referring now to FIGS. 3A and 3B, a second product is depicted as may be used in conjunction with the present invention. In the illustrated embodiment, an embossed plastic bag 140 is shown. The darker areas represent an embossed portion 142 which in turn forms a checkerboard-like pattern across the walls of the plastic bag. Looking at the corresponding product sample 150 it can be seen that a simulation of the plastic bag's texture and pattern is provided. In this case, the product sample 150 is provided with embossed portions 164 that may be significantly larger and pronounced in depth than the actual plastic bag 140. As with the product sample 150 of FIG. 2B, a backing 152 provides additional rigidity to the sample material while also providing an adhesive on the opposite side for affixing to a product packaging 100.
Patent applications by Michael A. Ross, Dallas, TX US
Patent applications by Poly-America, L.P.
Patent applications in class Forming a cover adjunct or application of a cover adjunct to a cover
Patent applications in all subclasses Forming a cover adjunct or application of a cover adjunct to a cover