Synopses & Reviews
In this fascinating excursion through popular culture and marketing history, design critic Thomas Hine decodes the secret language of packaging -- and explains the many subtle ways that boxes, bottles, and cans persuade us to spend our hard-earned money. Tracing the art and science of package design from its emergence late last century to today's most instantly recognizable brand images -- the Campbell's soup can, the Coca-Cola bottle, the Marlboro box, and many others -- Hine has written an essential book for students of popular culture, designers, marketers ... and anyone who goes shopping.
In the average half-hour trip to the supermarket, 30,000 products vie for the shopper's attention, and those that get noticed have only a sixth of a second to make their sales pitch. Today's marketers know they have to trigger desire instantly - and they do so, visually, by creating packages that make exactly the right promises. Packages understand you better than you understand packages, and The Total Package tells why. It is a delightful and erudite exploration of the way modern packages play on our deepest fears and desires to sell us germ-killing soap or high-profile vodka. Ranging from ancient Mesopotamia to Madison Avenue, from Aunt Jemima to Madonna, from Marlboros to McDonald's, Thomas Hine surveys packaging throughout history, exploring how advances in bottles, cans, and boxes have remade products, stores, and modern life. A package is a protector, a friend, and, ultimately, a piece of trash. Packages as small as a pillbox or as large as Walt Disney World play on the emotions, even as they promise predictable satisfactions. With an eye for the profound and the absurd, The Total Package describes the exploits of the oatmeal barons, medicine hucksters, psychologists, engineers, and marketing wizards who have made the art of packaging one of America's dominant contributions to world culture. The Total Package is a fascinating look at the unexpected meanings hidden in the most familiar boxes, bottles, cans, and tubes found in every home. Thomas Hine decodes their secret language in a lively narrative revealing the way we sell our products and ourselves, and changing forever the way we see our increasingly packaged world.
Today's manufacturers have to create instant desire for their product, and this book shows how they play with people's minds in an attempt to sell you another bar of soap or a box of cereal.