Blooper of The Year – Update

End of last year I wrote an article about the standard spray bottle commonly used in the house cleaner business and in this case presented as an innovation for new basting products of Southern BBQ. The spray bottle was a in-stock bottle supplied by TricorBraun.

It was to be expected that TricorBraun should comment and indeed posted a comment on this blog (see also under comments). As comments seldom are read after the topic is published, I decided to extend my post with an additional one, giving TricorBraun the opportunity to defend their decision.

Here is the comment of TricorBraun written by Suzanne Fenton:
“It is always interesting to hear opinions from those with a different perspective on a product and project. Packaging is certainly getting its day in the sun this year for perceived failures in packaging. However, I would like [to] give a different perspective on the Southern BBQ Sauce sprayer bottle for their basting product.
Southern BBQ Sauce Inc. is a regional manufacturer and they had an idea for a new way to deliver their product. They wanted to move fast with their idea. Because it was a new idea, they did not have any concept how successful it would be in the marketplace. Those two factors meant that a stock spray package was the fastest, most economical way to go.
Drew Guinn, Jr. of Southern BBQ tells us that, “This bottle was the perfect fit. It has worked great for us in the application we needed it in. I believe our customers want a product that works and works well, as opposed to being PC.”
He finds it interesting that there has been much less attention given to their packaging, which TricorBraun designed and supplies, for their Grill-N-Que bottle, as it is the first bottle in the grilling sector to use the inverted container concept that is common in many other condiment/sauce products.
That said, Drew is fine with the attention – as he says, “We are a small company trying to launch into the national arena. So this is good!!!”
To see the Grill-N-Que package, go to
end comment of Suzanne Felton.

My answer:
The argumentation Southern BBQ and TricorBraun articulate here, is not valid. They argue from their point of view, which doesn’t change the fact that the bottle is worldwide known as a spray bottle for household cleaners. The argumentation doesn’t go beyond the explanation why they used the spray bottle.
Whether the “bottle was the perfect fit” or “a stock spray package was the fastest, most economical way to go”, is no excuse to introduce an innovation which isn’t an innovation in the first place and which might create dangerous situations for the consumer. As David Kendall correctly wrote: “In fact, I would argue it is inappropriate.” It is also no excuse why the printing and graphics, as I argued, weren’t popping off the shelves to differentiate the bottle from the cleaning section.

As I said in my post: “I am championing cross-influencing packaging design in different fields of consumer products. That makes sense and shows the creativity of the packaging engineer while renewing the face of a consumer products category.” This cross-influencing, however, requires differentiation and that is exactly where the Southern spray bottle failed. It wasn’t even shown in the graphics.
For me, again, although a brilliant idea, the spray bottle as it is presented, turned out to be a blooper.

To prove that TricorBraun and Southern BBQ can do better, Suzanne Felton refers to another innovation, in this case the Grill-N-Que bottle.
Let’s have a look at this one.

After Southern Bar-B-Que Sauce baffled the supermarket shelves with the introduction of a new line of basting products in an in-stock, oblong sprayer bottle, recently the company defied its industry’s convention again by claiming to be the first company that produces barbeque seasonings and sauces to introduce a product in an inverted bottle.

The Cajun Grill-N-Que bottle, created by TricorBraun Design & Engineering is an 18-oz clear PET container that features a pinched waist so it is easy to hold and squeeze. The company’s name is embossed on the container’s “top” so it faces the customer when displayed and pressure sensitive labels are applied to the front and back. A 38-400 neck finish supports a 38 mm dispensing closure with an orifice that keeps the bottles contents from dripping.

Note: I am not sure, whether Tomato Ketchup belongs to the bbq-category, but the presented bottle looks very similar to the fabulously successful inverted Heinz Easy Squeeze ketchup bottle, designed by Klaus Rosburg of Sonic Design Solutions. So claiming to be the first sounds a bit over the top.

4 responses to “Blooper of The Year – Update

  1. Anton, the reasons I read your blog are first of all that you unearth so much novel material that is relevant to packaging and brand designers, and secondly that you have the courage to call it the way you see it. Keep up the good work.

  2. Anton, thanks for holding their feet to the fire and keeping us all honest. Perhaps Southern BBQ should focus less of their attention on trying to be perceived as “innovative” with their packaging. If I was Drew I’d hope that our attention would be focused more on what’s inside their packages – which by the way, is pretty good – than on the package itself.

    • Kendall, It’s not always appreciated, but what amazes me most is that companies react in a defensive way, in stead of saying: Ok, it wasn’t really the right solution. We have learned our lesson.

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Blooper of The Year – Update « Best In Packaging --·

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