Consumer-Inspired Package Design Using Flash Survey

Consumer-Inspired Package Design Using Flash Survey


Test DVD and Blu-ray disc cover appeal, recommend strategic marketing communications to maximize sales, and predict sales volume. Deliver results in only two weeks. Vital Findings mobilized a team of researchers and designers to conduct a quantitative marketing messaging and packaging survey. The survey was supplemented by innovative methodologies such a designer-inspired collaging activity that provided deeper insight into the quantitative findings. Through the co-disciplinary collaboration of statisticians and designers, Vital Findings was able to give the film's marketers and package designers a common foundation for communicating with consumers, while inspiring the designers to develop new iterations emphasizing consumer needs and wants.


A major entertainment company came to Vital Findings needing to test their DVD and Blu-ray disc cover designs for an animated children’s film soon to be released. The rise of digital media has generally weakened DVD sales for the home entertainment industry, despite many films’ successes at the box office. In order to maximize DVD sales, the entertainment company wanted to create a cover that would appeal to their "split" target demographic; in other words, the final design had to be kid-friendly and mother-approved. The entertainment company needed strategic marketing recommendations for the DVD cover and a forecast of the number of DVDs they should stock – and they needed an answer fast.


Vital Findings ran a 15-20 min national online survey to test packaging preferences. While a typical packaging study would solicit consumer opinions to refute or affirm existing designs, Vital Findings also allowed consumers to build their own versions of the DVD cover in order to understand consumer connection with characters, setting, and messaging. The designers could then take that information and use it as inspiration for developing new designs and refining existing ones.

The researchers were curious as to which character in the film would be considered the main character. Was this character the same for all demographics? The project team introduced a variety of stimuli to a wide cross-section of target customers – from moms to school-age kids - to test these packaging attributes. After participants gave feedback on existing designs, they assembled their own DVD covers in a virtual collaging exercise, choosing backgrounds, slogans, and characters that most appealed to them. To understand how consumers perceived the characters together, the team enabled participants to choose characters in different sizes. This allowed the analysts to infer character hierarchy for different types of buyers. To give the study an added dimension of realism, participants compared the client’s DVD covers to other DVD covers available in the market on a "virtual shelf" and chose which they would be most likely to purchase.


Through the cross-pollination of quantitative testing with creative exercises – a combination that is quite uncommon for packaging studies - the project yielded very compelling recommendations.

In this example, Vital Findings’ creative methodologies not only provided feedback on the initial designs tested but also actionable recommendations to help appeal to the target customer segments and maximize sales.

After studying the data by customer groups, the team found that one of the existing packages outperformed all the others for both moms and kids when rated alone; however, when participants were forced to choose between two options, it lost. Something was missing. Interestingly, the collaging exercise identified one particular character that was not emphasized in the original packaging but strongly resonated with consumers. The collaging exercise identified other areas for improvement as well: character mix, funny slogans, and family-friendly branding.


Vital Findings can solve a variety of problems using an abridged quantitative methodology. This methodology can answer questions about product or target demographics, attitudes, and expected usage patterns. The firm can also test reaction to a product, strategy or service. Typical tests include: Package tests, positioning studies, communications testing, or concept testing.

Examples of the types of problems that can be solved by this methodology include:

  • Are there any obvious hurdles with our next generation marketing strategy that can be quickly identified before we test in market?
  • What are the "must-haves" and "no-goes" for a packaging redesign?
  • What demographic would be most enticed by a given promotion?
  • What impact would a specific product placement have on total product sales?


  • Package Testing
  • Quantitative Online Survey
  • Collaging

Innovative Methods

Participants created their own version of the DVD cover. Vital Findings then provided user-driven recommendations for improvement.

Collaging with visual hierarchy:
Participants could choose characters by size so analysts could infer character importance.

Improved participant experience:
Vital Findings used custom-programmed flash-based tools to create an engaging experience. The firm understands that the participant experience improves response rate and response quality.

Capacity for a quick turnaround:
The company's marketers and designers received feedback mid-stream, before designs were locked.

Actionable design recommendations:
The research gave the marketing and design teams a common foundation for communication and design.