Logitech’s “Plain Brown Box” Saves Money, Makes Impact

I was reading one of my favorite news and discussion sites tonight and found an image someone had taken of a package sent to them from computer hardware maker Logitech. The plain, brown box was without any glossy paper or colors and had a message written on the side listing some of the benefits to its simplicity: No plastic, easy opening, cheaper, and recyclable to boot! The full screenshot is below (though it’s a little hard to read).

Lately, excessive and annoying packaging has become a common consumer complaint, so it’s refreshing to see a company not only doing something about it, but also taking the time to explain to folks why reducing packaging is important. Logitech isn’t the first company to start making an effort, but their “plain brown” concept is a nice approach, especially because of the message it includes for consumers.

Obviously, reduced packaging without the glossy extras you’d see on a store shelf, saves a company like Logitech money as well. But I’d hazard to guess it also builds brand loyalty and customer satisfaction…

From scanning their website, the “plain brown box” program doesn’t merit a mention, however, looking at a few product pages, I did discover that the scaled down shipping is also listed as a feature for most product offerings, displayed as follows:

My hunch is that consumers might gloss over the pre-sale messaging above, but are likely to remember the messaging on the package they receive. Some consumers might even investigate further, stumbling upon additional Logitech efforts such as their trade-in-program for out dated products. That’s precisely what I did when I started looking around on their site. I’d say that’s exactly what a good environmental responsibility program could hope for.

Needless to say, though the impact of this box program may be relatively small, millions of consumers still lack even the most basic education or inspiration toward understanding the impacts of their consumptive actions. Even a little project like this, well executed and messaged, can start to get people thinking a little more deeply than before.

To quote the box: “A brown box may not be pretty, but we think the results are beautiful”.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

4 responses

  1. For all its green talk, is the Logitech packaging actually made from recycled paper? That is the message indirectly implied by brown packaging, but is that really the case?

    1. I don’t think it is (at least there’e no claim), but I still think it merits some accolades given the reduction from what you typically receive through the mail.

  2. The psychological effects of moves like this probably far outweigh the immediate benefits from reduction of packaging etc. Receiving goods packaged like this is likely to change the overall mindset of the consumer which in time will probably change their purchasing decisions and habits.

    A customer who chooses not to buy a product because it is flimsily built or made of inappropriate materials incompatible with a long life or repairability will have a much bigger impact on future product design than simply reducing wasteful clamshell packaging…

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