Champions of Design – Pez
It’s ironic that Pez was created to help adults stop smoking, because the product’s development over subsequent years provides a master class in how to appeal to children.
As the first brand to offer a sweet that doubles as a toy, it couldn’t really go too far wrong, especially when the sweets are almost incidental. With Pez, the packaging is the product.
As a child, it’s the character’s head at the top of the dispenser, whether that be Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty, that has you tugging on your parent’s sleeve. To the parent, it’s an almost equally easy sell – an inexpensive way to give their child a little bit of whatever fad is ruling the playground. It also provides them with some easy entertainment, because tipping back the head is a seriously fun way to serve up a sweet.
The dispensing mechanism is actually a clever, ergonomic design disguised as a bit of kitsch, and it’s the thing that gives Pez real personality. It’s also the main reason the stick normally gets emptied in next to no time. The other reason is the reload; filling up the chamber with more sweets makes you feel pretty sophisticated as a child, so it’s another good excuse to keep eating.
As well as the circular satisfaction in consuming Pez, the countless editions mean they are also perfect for collecting. So, while the brand might have started out to cure one addiction, it surely replaced it with another.
By James Joice, Client Director, jkr