Do we judge a wine by its label?

Yes, and new research done in Oregon counts the ways.

The results shed light not only on consumers’ snap shopping judgments but also on marketing opportunities for other consumer products, including fragrances, footwear and MP3 players.

“There’s a lot of money to be made in helping consumers make a good choice,” said Keven Malkewitz, an assistant marketing professor at Oregon State University who co-authored the study. “The package helps people make a decision.”

The study, “Holistic Package Design and Consumer Brand Impressions,” appeared this month in the Journal of Marketing, co-written by Ulrich Orth, a marketing professor at the University of Kiel in Germany. It was funded in part by Willamette Valley Vineyards Inc. in Turner.

Past marketing research suggests that packaging is extremely important in selling products because consumers encounter them when they’re highly engaged mentally in making buying decisions. But little independent research had been done on which designs evoke specific, desired responses, Malkewitz said.

To figure that out, Malkewitz and Orth photographed 160 wine bottles, mostly of less-recognized brands. They asked 125 experts — graphic or industrial designers — to analyze the aesthetic attributes of each bottle. Then, they sorted responses into five primary design types: massive (or bold), contrasting, natural, delicate and nondescript.

Read the summary and download the full report.

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