La Choy Chicken Chow Mein

Thursday March 7thCanned goods, Food Category


“Chinese”, “food”, in a can- My sister used to eat this back in the 80’s as some messed up after-school snack.   I had a taste of it once and my blood pressure is sky-rocketing  just thinking about the gelatinous salt glob of what used to be vegetables and morsels of …meat.
Just as edible as the contents, the packing features what they call a “Bi-Pack” to separate the upstairs crap from the downstairs crap. I forget what was what or why it even matters to separate the two but apparently there’s something about it that would make someone think they’re “creating” a “meal” or what I don’t know but I’m not feeling too good right now.

The older package on the left is a little blurry because of the  printing in the magazine I found this in but besides that, the image of the “food” is not the most appealing but realistic. I do like the simplicity of the logo and the yellow ribbon that outlines the white area.  The dominating red color of the package is mildly reminiscent of the popular red color theme in some older Chinese restaurants.  The package doesn’t say a lot but I think maybe because there was really nothing else you needed to know?

The current package (because they’re STILL MAKING THIS in the year 2013) has changed to a blue background with a slightly more “oriental” looking font. I can’t really tell if the Chinese symbol used is the same as the old package.  The added information explains a little about the contents and even proclaims that it’s “Inspired by Traditional Asian Cuisine”.  I think an effort has been made to make the image of the contents is slightly more appealing but for people like me who know what’s lurking inside the can, it just doesn’t matter.

So going by the packaging itself the image of the product may look better on the new package but if  had to use one as a doorstop, I’d rather look at the design/layout/font of the old one.

La Choy Chicken Chow Mein: Old or New?

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Tasters Choices

Monday February 25thDrinks Category


I never really paid much attention to instant coffee brands, the only one that stuck out to me was Sanka.  But now that I’m looking at it, guess the Taster’s Choice package did make an imprint in the way back of my mind.
The image of this guy about to take the first taste of his choice rings a bell.  I think  it was a pretty good representation of what someone might look like who takes his coffee seriously (for instant).  You can also imagine what he’s thinking about.  It looks like it could be more than just coffee.  The jar allows  the consumer to see the actual product of “100% Freeze-Dried Coffee”, which is the only information on the label besides the product name.
So basically TC wanted just keep it short and sweet: This guy likes this freeze-dried coffee, it’s called Taster’s Choice,  you see what you’re getting.
The current package hides the product behind a fully covered container.  The human visual has been removed and replaced with an image of two coffee beans which suggest the item’s origin of having been a coffee bean.  It does mention “Instant Coffee” in very small print at the bottom, they want you to know more importantly it’s “GOURMET” and  a small “Roast Intensity” meter at the top left to let you know how strong it is.  And it’s from Nescafe.

Although the new packaging is sleek and has a convenient flip-top, I prefer the old packaging because of the human element (even though he could be seen as mildly creepy)and I like being able to see a product.  Anytime I can see something (without it compromising the quality of the product) I’d prefer to be able to.

Taster's Choice: Old or New?

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Breyers Yogurt

Monday February 18thBreakfast Category


I always thought it was Breyer’s not Breyers.  Hmm, I guess you learn something new everyday.  The package on the left is from a 1985 ad.  The font is typically more simple than the current. The name Breyers is on there twice, once in the leaf logo and f course in big red letters with a  crayon scribble underneath.  The cup also features a photo of a lone strawberry and in general looks a little generic.
The current package keeps the leaf  but it’s more dimensional  and the brand name is in a type of cursive font underneath it.  The cup features a black background and two strawberries.  It also mentions that this is lowfat.  I don’t think Breyers even offers flavored yogurt in full-fat.  I guess it’s more economical, but they lost the lid. I like to have the option to re-close things or re-use the package for something else, but ok, that’s cool.

While I like the simplicity and lid on the old package, I think the new package looks more eye-catching and still manages not to look too busy.

Breyers yougurt: Old or New?

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Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa

Monday February 11thDrinks Category

I was walking through Target today and saw that Swiss Miss has a new limited edition package for some reason.  I thought it was a nice observation on the almost-year anniversary of posting on here.
I like the old  box, not because of the presence of the actual Swiss Miss but the “Swiss” font and the little decorative images semi-bordering the package.
I’ve done a post  on Swiss Miss pudding before that will hold true to this comparison as well but I’d also like to point out the differences in “Misses”.
It’s subtle but the new Swiss Miss image looks computer generated while the real SM looks almost like a claymation still (and maybe it was) and looked a little more “real” than the current one.  Still always a nice gesture to pay homage to the old packaging.

Which do you like better?

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Tropicana Orange Juice

Tuesday February 21stBreakfast, Drinks Category


I don’t drink OJ, I think it has to do something with me being an idiot in 3rd grade.  I needed an empty carton for a school project and forced down 3/4 of a container of Minute Maid down my throat for it.  Moments after I completed that feat, my mom walks in and said I didn’t look too good. I told her what I just did and she responded with “Why didn’t you just pour it into another container?”  I can’t remember what that school project was but I will never forget the enormous feeling of  pure “DUH” at that moment and orange juice has been a turn off to me ever since.  I know it has nothing to do with packaging but after 30 years I just had to tell someone.
I think most of us remember ”Tropic-Ana” from the earlier days.  She was fazed out sometime the late80’s/early 90’s.  some might say it was weird to have a topless little girl on a container of orange juice but…well I guess it was.  It’s not like the simple drawing is flaunting anything but still there seems something kind of wrong about it.  I do like the simple colors and font but it if you take out Ana, it would almost look like a generic company product.
The new container recently change from paper carton to plastic bottle.  The brand name font is slightly similar to the old although it has a very small gradient and added a leaf to dot the “i”.  It’s not a bad design, it doesn’t go down in the hall of fame of designs but there’s nothing wrong with it.  The only thing I’m not a fan of is the orange,  I think it would have looked great to have a more 2-D, stylized version of the orange and famous striped straw.
As I was doing a little research on the new container, I came across an interesting fact about the straw. The great blog  readysetlaunch, nicely documented the change from the “newer” old package to the new:
Apparently when they changed to a package without the red and white straw, people freaked out and demanded it back , Tropicana caved and gave the people what they wanted.  So although they have changed the package again, they made sure to keep the straw.
And finally I couldn’t help but mention the former  Tropicana spokesman Bruce Jenner since he was in the ad I found in my magazine collection.

And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Tropicana: Old or New?

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(Bonus poll!)

Bruce Jenner: Old school or Currently old?

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Count Chocula

Tuesday February 14thBreakfast, Cereal, Food Category


I won’t get into how my sisters and I weren’t allowed to eat “sugar cereal” again.  But these monster cereals were like…beyond even even beggin for.  Honestly I never even had any of these, Count, Boo, Frank…was there mummy or “beast” that was around for a while too?
Even though I’m an adult and can buy these if I want, it just hasn’t happened.   I’ve heard General Mills has changed the recipe with these cereals and they’re not as good they used to be so I feel like that window of awesomeness has closed and what’s the point of trying something not in it’s prime.
So onto the package design- quite a difference between 80’s Count and current.  The old box has a vacant feel like the very 2 dimensionally drawn Count walked into a green screen set with a bowl of cereal. The current is a computer generated image that kind of looks like he should be the son of the Count.  How does he look younger than he did 25+ years ago?  Well, I guess hes a vampire.  The current box depicts his home (Castle Chocula?) but is lacking an image of the product itself, which I always think is nice to see what you’re getting.  There is a small description of “Chocolatey cereal with spooky-fun marshmallows” compared to the older “Chocolate flavored frosted cereal +marshmallow bits”
While neither description is overly appealing I guess they do a better job with the current description with calling it “Chocolately” because whenever I read “Chocolate flavored..” anything it usually tastes like blech.
Visually, I like the old box because the new one I feel like the count is too in my face and is lacking an image of the product.

What do you think?

Count Chocula: Old or New?

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Wednesday October 26thHealth & Beauty Category

Nair, most commonly known (or at least used to be) for asking who wears short shorts, is something I tried once and left it alone after that.  I was always a little weirded out that you can roll on this glop, let it sit and it removes hair but doesn’t harm your skin?  Although, they clearly have a following because it’s still in production and has a whole line of products.  Maybe I should try it again, I’m sure it’d been developed to be less fumey now.
The 80’s packaging on the left is kind of girly looking with the pink bottle and label and curvy title font.  The package has a friendly-approachable look to it both in bottle shape and label.

The new package uses the same color theme but seems a little more…I don’t know, cold and clinical?  The title font isn’t as “fun” and has been slimmed down and is sharper.  There are some curves on the side but are more sleek than the wavy banner o the old bottle.  There’s also the addition of an actual girl/lady.  I don’t know why but it always bothers me when they put a needlessly naked chick strategically posed on a package or ad.

Nair: Old or New?

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So for that reason alone I’d prefer the old package but I also think it has a more welcoming look too.   The new bottle is okay (minus naked chick) but it does look like something you’d find in a hospital supply cabinet


Monday September 26thCereal Category

I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I really miss this blog.  I always seem inspired to post when I can’t, like when I’m at work, driving, grocery shopping, etc..
So I’ll post whenever I can but anyway, I was going through some old files looking for something else and came across my stash of old  ads I scanned and All-Bran kind of called out to me.

I never had this cereal but I remember my dad was all about it for a while.  The image on the left is from a 1982 ad.  I like this box because it kind of reminds me of the 70’s Clue game cards.  There’s just an element of mystery.  The almost eerie silence of a still-life, and just a hint of something…off.  A couple of neatly placed grains of wheat to the right of the bowl and a hovering spoon  either being held by the cereal eater by the very edge or it’s levitating over the cereal.  I do like the stark contrast of the mustard-colored bowl and plate against the robins egg table cloth.

The current box is ok.  It’s much brighter and I think more inviting.   I feel like it’s a lighter vibe overall, not just with the white background but the font and the replacement of raspberries for bananas.  I guess like with everything there’s 100 versions the same products now so I picked original which is noted by a clearly marked tripe across the middle of the package.  The title font got the beveled and slightly warped treatment. They ditched the plate the bowl sits on but hey decided to keep the grains.

I think they’re both effective as portraying the product and having  shelf recognition but I do like the starkness of the old package.

All-Bran: Old or New?

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Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Friday June 10thBreakfast, Food Category

Hands-down, one of my all time favorite cereals.  It also works well instead of rice krispies in the usual treat recipe.
I remember when CTC joined the cereal scene in 1985, I was in 5th grade and  it was actually “exciting”.
The poorly scanned box on the left is from a 1985 ad.  You can barely make out the lined-paper background.  The title
is in multi-color marker/crayon font.  I’m not sure what the reason for the elementary school theme is other than to appeal to kids ( like myself at the time) but still, you’d think maybe something more reflective of the product might be used. Nonetheless, it looks cute and the smiling toast is adorable.
The new box keeps a multi-color font but that’s about it.   The background features the cereal swirling down to what looks like a  slightly psychotic baker at the bottom of the box.
I think even less appealing is their new…thing in commercials featuring two pieces of the cereal that, eat each other(?)
I don’t know what’s going on but I’d prefer the more innocent version of CTC.  I will say it still one of the best tasting cereals out there.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch: Old or New

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St. Ives

Friday May 27thHealth & Beauty Category

I always thought St. Ives was the cheapest, lowest quality skin care products.  I don’t know if they really are but I had that in my mind because we had it in our house.
This is a rare case of not liking the old package design at all.  I really can’t pinpoint why I don’t like it but some of it is the font of “St. Ives”,  part is the drawing of the mountains and featured botanical images that just look like weeds and in this case, the colors are just drab.   To be fair, it probably also reminds me of the low-quality,  pink-colored gelatinous  product that just seemed to slide around my face and not absorb like a “normal” moisturizer.
The new design is simple and non-cluttered, the font is clean looking and the color scheme is bright and “fresh”.  It makes you think that maybe there isn’t a pink glob of facial putty in there but a somewhat natural creme that feels light and refreshing.
Kudos to St. Ives for a great redesign.

St. Ives: Old or New?

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