Advanced Labels Blog

4 Buzzwords to Bypass on Your Label Packaging

Mar 20, 2014 08:01 PM

4 buzzwords to avoid on your labelsNothing kills a good word or phrase like overuse.

The words on this list are not inherently bad, but they have been hijacked by big business and completely diluted by years of cynical marketing. Even though they may perfectly describe your products, your products do not exist in a vacuum. And depending on your market or channel, you may inadvertently harm your brand by displaying these words prominently on your labels.

1. Artisan

On its own, 'artisan' is a great word:

"A worker in a skilled trade, esp. one that involves making things by hand."

It follows then that 'artisanal' describes the process of creating something, with the implication that it's been carefully crafted in small quantities– by an artisan. The problem is that it has been hijacked by marketing to the point it no longer has a meaning. You could say artisan is an overused buzzwordit's completely unfair to your genuinely artisanal products, and we would agree. Unfortunately the word has been diluted beyond the point of repair.

Nearly a thousand food products have been labeled "artisan" since 2006, including offerings from Dominoes Pizza, Burger King, Weight Watchers, and Dunkin Donuts. You can buy "Artisan" meals in bulk from both Costco and Sam's Club. There are even "Artisan" pet foods. And beyond food, believe it or not, storage containers and toilet cleaners have also commandeered the word. The Los Angeles Times reported back in 2011 that the word artisan had gone mainstream.

What can you do? If your products are truly artisanal, labeling them as 'hand-crafted' and 'small batch' might be more effective. Determine which ingredients or processes you use when crafting your products and highlight them on your packaging. Specific claims unique to your brand will be much more difficult to mimic unless your mass-produced competitor is willing to be willfully misleading.

Similar buzzwords: Authentic, heritage, original, traditional, simple, classic.


2. Premium

"Relating to or denoting a commodity or product of superior quality and therefore a higher price."

Premium has a place in product lines that have a clear distinction between discount variations and their high-end counterparts. As far back as we can recall, however, it's been a buzzword meant to imply superiority over a competitive product of equal or possibly even Avoid premium on Labelslesser value. When one company's brand is nearly identical to another, the word premium may suddenly appear on the packaging in order to manipulate consumer's perceptions.

As a result, the word has lost all meaning, not unlike the word 'awesome' in casual conversation. The next time you hear the word awesome ask yourself if it stands up to the actual definition:

"Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear."

Premium has suffered the same fate for the same reasons, as the qualification for something to be considered truly premium or truly awesome have been lowered to absolutely nothing.

What can you do? It's been said that products that need to label themselves as premium usually aren't. Rather than adding the word premium, communicate premium quality through high-end packaging. Uncluttered and elegant designs that use few colors and fewer fonts, unique label materials and tasteful treatments will elevate your products above the rest.

Similar buzzwords: Premier, professional, select, best, special, gourmet.


3. Pure

Avoid pure as a buzzword on labels

"Free of any contamination."

Pure may be one of the most abused packaging words of all time. A Google image search for the words “pure” and “logo” returns 240
million results. Like artisan and premium, it's a word that is often touted on labels with little or no evidence to back it up. It's not uncommon to see pure used as a qualifier such as "Pure Refreshment", a claim impossible to prove that allows the word pure to appear in big letters on the front label.

What can you do? If your products can make a legitimate claim of purity, consider a phrase that effectively communicates this that is not contradicted by your ingredients. The dilemma of course is that genuine purity is a great selling point, but the abuse of the word pure has made it increasingly difficult to convince consumers your products and ingredients are in fact pure.

Similar buzzwords: Fresh, real, 100%, all, genuine.


4. Natural

"Existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind."

The number of products marketed as natural is astronomical, and the majority of them are anything but. Natural is perhaps the buzzword consumers are most weary of. Flip to the nutrition or ingredients list of most products labeled natural and you will likely be confronted by a paragraph of unpronouncable chemical names. Like pure above, natural frequently exists as a dubious qualifier with no legitimate certification.

Avoid natural as a buzzword on labelsThe embarassing overuse of natural is hilariously castigated by Only Organic in a 2014 parody video from the fictitious "False Advertising Industry" that has nearly a million views in its short 3-month existence.

What can you do? Consumers respond well to both "contains" and "free of". For food and beverage products, tough federal regulations have culminated in the USDA Organic certification. Products that qualify for and display the official seal are currently the only evincible natural products on the market. For health and beauty and cosmetics products there are two primary options: The NSF International certification and the Natural Products Association certification, both of which award graphic seals for packaging. If your products hold any of these natural seals combat confusing buzzwordscertifications you should make educating consumers a priority. Dozens of badges and graphics bearing words like natural and organic exist outside third-party certification and serve to confuse consumers.

Similar buzzwords: Natural, all-natural, nature's, organic, wholesome, healthy.


As you prepare to market and sell your handiwork, it may be time to consider a new phrase for your Premium Artisinal All-Natural Pure product.

Topics: Beer Labels, Dietary Supplement Labels, Digital Labels, Ejuice Labels, Flexo Labels, Food & Beverage Labels, Graphic Design, Health & Beauty Labels, How To, Marketing, Spirits, Wine

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