Paula, Mario, Giada, Tyler, Ina, Jamie, Emeril. No, not the names of the new 7 dwarfs but of some of the most famous celebrity chefs who started at the stove, made their way onto your television screen and then into your cupboards and refrigerators. These people are living examples of a brand in 360 degrees. From an action (cooking) they turned themselves into entertainment (a cooking show) and then into an actual product.
It is these actual products I want to share. As an avid fan of all things related to cooking (the Food Network, the new Cooking Channel, Bon Appetit magazine, food blogs, etc), I love to check out the packaging in gourmet food stores and specialty shops as well as just in the basic grocer’s. I stumbled upon Giada Delaurentiis’ olive oil just a couple of weeks ago. My first thought was “Wow! Giada has olive oil now?” and then this: “Why is her face on the label?”. If you know her name, then you know her face so why make a product that is most likely high-end quality and bring down the design with a photo of the chef promoting it?
After a review of the seven chefs and their specialty food products , I noticed a common thread – their faces were on the packaging! In almost all cases, the design of the box or bottle would be a lot nicer if their faces weren’t covering it (with the exception of Jamie Oliver’s line). This led me to think about what the marketing teams were thinking. When I say ‘Emeril’, what do you see? Likely a portly Portuguese man throwing spices and yelling “BAM!”. You don’t need his mug on the sauce jar to remind you of that.
I’m pretty sure this lady, lovely and all, could have done without her face on the olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottles.
Mario, Mario, Mario. I get a kick out of you. I loved your show about your travels to Spain on PBS. I love your restaurants in NYC. But why not have your sauce bottles promote the same clean design as your fabulous Italian megastore Eataly?
Paula Deen is the Queen of Butter and I love watching her cheerful persona on her show but I’d prefer her packaging to show that love without showing her. I love to see her add butter, mayo and sugar to almost everything (not USUALLY all three at once), but does this packaging design make me want to buy it?
Though this next design shows the chef’s face (which I still believe to be a no-no in food packaging), it has a clean design aesthetic that I appreciate.
Last but not least, there are two celebrity chefs that break the mold when it comes to “typical” packaging for this category – Tyler Florence and Ina Garten. Tyler’s packaging places his name in a small, unintrusive type, while the ever-amazing Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa) relies only on her namesake for branding – no photo of her at all (just a photo of the end product of her food).
Here’s hoping that this trend of face-on-food packaging ends soon. As someone who cooks and loves learning about cooking, I want the chefs to take a stand and let their ingredients (and not their celebrity) lead their packaging systems. Do you also get annoyed seeing mugshots in the sauce aisle?