An article in the New York Times magazine looks at how Publix decided not to go down the regular route of producing products that imitated brands. Instead, they created a simple style that set their ‘white label’ goods apart – a look that won fans.

Tim Cox, director of the company’s in-house creative-service department, says Publix’s house brands used to mimic the look of national brands; the problem was that imitation made the private-label stuff blend in. A breakthrough came with the conclusion that similarity was no longer necessary. For most consumers, the knee-jerk suspicion of “generic” products faded a long time ago. “We’re not really relying on the customer seeing a package of canned goods and saying, ‘Oh, that looks like the national brand, that must be good,’ ” Cox says.

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