Business Reading Comprehension

Read the following text and answer the questions.

The Art of Seduction

Seducing your customers into buying your product and building a loyalty from that initial purchase are key marketing problems. Few steps are more important in that seduction than getting the packaging right. Ugly, old fashioned presentation can ruin a brand or newly launched product; first impressions are critical.

Packaging designers in particular are learning that in a recession they need to demonstrate the commercial, bottom-line value of their work; cosmetic skills alone are not enough. The traditional UK jam and marmalade market has been in steady long-term decline – down from 109 tonnes in 1984 to 89,500 tonnes in 1991. In the 1980s healthier, lowersugar diets became fashionable, product innovation seemed limited, preserves manufacturers waged price wars, and own-label preserves took market share from brands. All that left little room for lavish promotional spending. The only growth niche seemed to be in low-sugar preserves, but consumers were turned off by unconventional tastes and textures.

Chivers Hartley, a division of Premier Brands and a traditional name in Preserves, decided to develop a low-sugar preserve range which also tasted good. it set about new product development in conjunction with a London design consultancy, The Design Bridge.

Chivers developed a new cooking process with a much higher fruit content, emulating the taste and texture of higher-sugar jams and marmalades. But equally important was the development of a new packaging design.

Chivers set itself the target of taking 5% of the low-sugar market last year. During the first full year of the new range, called Hartleys Extra Fruit, it took 7%. According to Mike Whetter, Chivers Hartley’s marketing manager, the packaging design was “absolutely fundamental. If you get your design right you are well on the way to success. If you get it wrong, then you will never succeed.”

Perfecting the packaging design can also help make or break product relaunches. In February 1990 Chivers Hartley took a step into what was then a relatively new market, ready-made convenience desserts, with a range called Chivers Fruit Cup. The market has grown to a retail value now of some 19m pounds annually.

But the dominant green colour of the original packaging meant that retailers frequently placed the product – fruit in jelly -on shelves next to canned fruit. Consumers failed to be tempted, and the product reached only 60% of all retail outlets.

“We found that the graphics of the pack were totally underselling the product and were not conveying what was inside the Pot. The pack itself was not exciting them to pick it up and try it,” says Whetter.

Chivers Hartley literally went back to the drawing board. Design Bridge worked out new colours, graphics and packaging, and the Fruit Cup range was relaunched earlier this year.

Mike Whetter is confident that the range will increase its market share from the 5% taken on relaunch to 8% by the end of the year. The total cost of relaunching Fruit Cup, including design work, he puts at 120,000 pounds.

“New product launches like this are very difficult; marketing money here is sacred, we have to make every pound work hard for us. We have a total marketing spend of about 2m pounds annually; about 3.5% of turnover,” says Whetter.

Packaging designers are increasingly being consulted at an early stage of new product development. The

Design Bridge was called in by chocolate manufacturers Terry’s of York, which in 1989 decided to roduce a premium “special treat” chocolate bar. Aimed at 25-44 year old women, the new bar was designed to capture qualities such as “indulgence”, “richness” and “uniqueness” in an already crowded market. The design brief was to develop packaging which would sell the bar as a luxurious treat; understated, yet appealing to women purchasers looking for more than a quick chocolate “fix”.

The new bar, called Moments, exceeded its first year sales targets by 47%, with retail sales of 10m pounds in 1991 – an achievement in a market where more than four out of five new product launches fail.

Good packaging design is vital but only one element in an overall sales promotion effort. Nevertheless, get it wrong and it can be costly: Your chances of success are quite limited, the consumer will only grasp one or two elements of the design on the pack. “But given the choice between 1m pounds for six weeks of television advertising and 60,000 Your chances of success are quite limited, the consumer will only grasp one or two elements of the design on the pack.” But given the choice between 1m pounds for six weeks of television advertising and 60,000 pounds for design work on a brand launch, it must make sense to get the drawing board out before hiring the film crew.


Complete these statements by circling the best answer (there may be more than one possibly correct answer) according to the text. If you change your mind after you have already circled one answer, cross it out completely before circling another. There is 0.25 point penalty for answering a question incorrectly. There is no penalty for omitting a question.

1) Jam and Marmalade Sales in the UK have?
a) dropped.
b) soared.
c) rocketed.
d) levelled off.

2) Jam manufacturers’ initial response to decline has been?
a) to offer better tastes and textures.
b) to lower their prices.
c) to become more fashionable.
d) to increase money spent on promotions.

3) Chivers new range jams were?
a) low in sugar and taste.
b) based on a traditional recipe.
c) similar in taste to conventional jams.

4) The new packaging design for Chivers Extra Fruit was?
a) the reason for the product’s success.
b) more successful than expected.
c) played an important role in the success of the new product.
d) very attractive.

5) The problem with the original Fruit Cup packaging was that?
a) it was an awful colour
b) it did not represent the contents of the pot.
c) it only tempted 60% of the customers.
d) it wasn’t attractive enough.

6) “Marketing money here is sacred” means?
a) the money available for marketing was quite enough.
b) lack of money meant that the marketing team had to be careful how they spent it.
c) the marketing department had a great deal of work.
d) relaunches are very expensive.

7) The passage tells us that it is now common for packaging designers to be called in?
a) for luxury foods.
b) because competition is fierce.
c) more often.
d) very soon after the company has decided on a new product.

8) One of the problems facing Terry’s of York with their new luxury chocolate bar was?
a) it could only appeal to women in a certain age group.
b) it was competing with many similar products.
c) women wanted something that took a long time to eat.
d) it was difficult to make it look luxurious enough.

9) “Moments” chocolate bar was?
a) a disappointment
b) a flop
c) a failure
d) a hit

10) Spending money on packaging design can be?
a) the most important part of a sales promotion.
b) an expensive exercise.
c) much wiser than rushing into TV commercials.
d) a lot of hard work.