my turn


Imperfection Is A Good Thing

The Authenticity Trend has been fully infiltrated into mainstream culture for years. We see its implications from politics to household products.

Consumers are attracted to "the real." This is evident in the rise of farmers markets and the dislike of preservatives like parabens, for example. As if through a prism, when the recession hit, the Authenticity Trend evolved to that of "Imperfection." We still want "the real" but, now, we don't believe the hype. We sense when something is fishy and want to see behind the curtain. Think of those great Ally Bank ads with the pony. If nothing else, we learned from the recession that there is no such thing as "perfect."

Consider the decline of plastic surgery, down 18% since 2009. The cancellation of "Nip/Tuck" shines light on the beauty pendulum swinging from synthesized perfection to that of a more natural look. On one end, we have Hoda and Kathie Lee had a "no make-up day" on "The Today Show." On the other end, 23-year-old Heidi Montag had 10 plastic surgeries in one day and now she can't even hug people due to her resulting physical sensitivities.



In the consumerscape, the Imperfection Trend is evident in handmade objects moving from the periphery towards the mainstream. Etsy, the online retailer, has increased sales 98% from February 2009 to February 2010. It sells beautiful, one-of-a-kind objects ranging from accessories to toys.

How do we apply this trend to health and beauty aids packaging? Well, it has already begun in the luxury sector with perfumes by Balenciaga and Alexa Lixfield. With its "cracked" top, Balenciaga Paris emanates a feeling of fragility, begging to be coveted. Alexa Lixfield, out of Germany, using concrete for its bottle cap, alludes to strength of character. It makes sense that we first see imperfection in the luxury sector as it is no longer fashionable to flash bling.

By using naturally made -- or naturally looking -- materials, you separate yourself from the pack. But, more importantly, consumers connect to the imperfect; it reminds us we're human.

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