Packaging doesn’t normally take up a great deal of my conscious thought. And I have a sneaky feeling that this is by design. A vast amount of our day to day actions are controlled by our subconscious mind in surprising ways.

This fact has not escaped the marketers out there, in particular with regards to packaging.

Ever heard of Neuromarketing? Nor had I until this morning. Apparently every time I go to the supermarket I am the target of subtle psychological suggestions influencing my buying decisions.

How do I feel about this manipulation? Hmm, not good when I think about it. I prefer to keep the illusion that I am in complete control of my actions and not dictated to by some marketing genius. But sadly this is not the case. Like most other consumers, there are limits to my resistance to jedi mind tricks and free will is looking more and more like a delusion.

When packaging does enter my conscious mind, it is often in a negative context. In particular the throw away nature of packaging in the 21st century. Discarded packaging is filling our landfills and finding its way into our oceans at an alarming rate. The Great Pacific garbage patch is one example of where our packaging can end up.

While I understand the power of packaging to make or break the sale of a product, can we still justify our existing use of packaging in this damaging way? Is it possible to market products successfully without our reliance on environmentally harmful packaging?

What a different experience going to the supermarket would be with no packaging. How would we decide what food to buy if our brains are not being bombarded by the latest neuromarketing techniques?

The good news for marketers and the environment is that there is growing evidence that sustainable packaging can help boost the sales of a product. Brain manipulation or not, this can only be a good trend.