I Buy Pretty Things #010

Can I make “6 Second Food Review” a thing? Quick and to the point, I don’t hate it. Maybe hate my unruly hair, but I spent half my day painting so I don’t really feel bad about it.

I bought “Sweetos” while I was at the store the other day. Specialty items pop up regularly around the holidays, so while I wasn’t surprised to see the flavor combo (I mean, who doesn’t love cinnamon sugar during the fall/winter months), I was surprised to see Cheetos jumping on the holiday flavor bandwagon. I don’t recall them doing a lot of seasonal promotions, and the only other flavors I know from them are extra hot/spicy cheetos, so seeing them play in the sweet space was a new phenom for me.

Sweetos to describe the product is actually an understatement. These little circular crisps are just sugar. That’s it. Sugar. They are so overly sweet, the two that I had I think will be all I’ll need for the rest of the season.

IMG_6124 IMG_6123They look like funyuns, which are appetizing to some people I think? Not really me, but that’s okay. The cheeto texture was expected, sure, but seriously. The sweetness is unparalleled, except if you were spooning sugar into your mouth. They remind me a little of cinnamon toast crunch in that I can see the taste and they are crunchy, but these are way more sugary.

I really just can’t describe these any other way than sugary.

But we’re here to talk about the packaging, not the food. The food is just a bonus. Or in this case, a potential coma.

So here’s what I liked about the packaging.

A) It’s purple and shiny. I do happen to like shiny things, but purple is a good neutral holiday/winter color. The package does have a snow scene on it, which I have some words about. In the past 2+ years of my career I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about seasonal food packaging. I’ve heard everything from “snow doesn’t resonate with people in the warmer/southern states” to “snow makes our food look cold.” When I see this, it outright proves to me that the food can remain exactly how it is – food like. I didn’t pick this up for taste appeal, I’ll tell you that. I picked it up because of the brand name and because it was a new product I wanted to try. If the product were just cheetos in holiday packaging, I’d probably still pick it up because the packaging was different and stood out to me – Oreo does this all the time. If the design is good, people will buy into it. That’s pretty much the whole point of this series.

IMG_6126
Oh would you look at that – there IS in fact regular cheetos packaging with a winter scene, thanks back of the sweetos package!

B) Reiterating the fact that I’ve been doing package designs for the past 2 years or so, I liked the scene on the front. There’s action including the food, which is cool and usually not easy – someone would have had to re-illustrate Chester to execute this, which costs a lot of money/manpower to do. They do this well in the little snapshot of the White Cheddar cheetos too, where Chester is using the food as snowboards. It’s exciting and fits his M.O. perfectly. The stars in the background allude to snow, without busying up the scene with little snowflakes or circles, which was a nice touch. Overall there’s a lot of swirls & movement in the package, which makes for something nice to look at.

C) Nothing about it says “Christmas” or “Holiday” directly. It purely speaks to the season, which is known for being cold and snowy. This means that the brand wanted it to have a “season long” shelf life so that it could be out past Christmas/New Years and still be acceptable to a consumer. Be honest, if you see a single wreath after Christmas, you roll your eyes. That goes for packaging too.

I found that year after year it became increasingly hard to come up with seasonal/holiday themes that we either hadn’t pitched before, hadn’t been done better by other brands, or weren’t overly holiday focused. Then I quit and got a corporate job so now I just look at what other people are doing and appreciate it from afar. Nice job guys, seriously.

I think this was a “cool” approach (ha. ha.), though I really wish the actual product was toned down a bit. I was hoping for something along the lines of those cinnamon twists that they used to/maybe still have at taco bell. I say that because I have no idea if they’re still there, I haven’t been in a taco bell in years. These were just overly sweet for me, so maybe I can work them into a cupcake topping or make my husband eat them. I’ll get back to you.

Have you tried these? Or have you seen any other holiday/seasonal packaging come out that you want to share? Leave me a note in the comments!

-Rhi

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