Sharing Size

I’ve written about extraneous communication driven by a desire to avoid legal liability.

For heaven’s sake,
and for the happiness of our shareholders,
don’t ingest this obviously indigestible packet of silica gel!!!

I’ve written about extraneous communication driven by a desire to promote content with not-false-but-irrelevant precision in scale.

73 tips for a neater kitchen!
19 ways to build confidence in kids!!
52 places to visit before you die!!!
(And yes, we know you can’t visit them after.)

I believe this is the first time I’ve written about extraneous communication driven by, well, I have no idea what desire. Let me explain.

In the run-up to Super Bowl, grocery stores here stocked up with tasty near-food items, with all varieties of chips prominently displayed on the unavoidable path between the produce section and the checkout lanes/kiosks. So it was that I noted what seems to me to be a new trend in labeling: highlighting that packages are intended for more than one person, to wit, Family Size. Or, as the marketing jargon variously has it, even in the same brand, Sharing Size.

Standard tin and spice jar provided for scale reference.

I must report that I could not distinguish between Family and Sharing, and I’m sure there’s another possible post along those lines. But let’s stay focused. I know of no one who would mistake this bag of chips for a single portion, so it wasn’t a public-health warning. That leaves me wondering why they bothered. I mean, 2-litre cartons of milk are not so labelled. Nor 18-hole cartons of eggs. Nor 10-kg frozen turkeys. Nor 1.5-litre bottles of wine. Nor 750-ml bottles, for that matter.

But although marketing communication is often ineffective it’s rarely haphazard: I expect they intended Something.

Maybe it’s a speed-&-feed thing to communicate quickly with harried shoppers.

Got family? Got friends?
This is the bag you need!
Yes! This one!
Go, GO, GO!!!

Maybe it’s a subtle up-sell thing to entice shoppers to buy more than they might have intended.

Ah, ah, ah. Don’t reach for that little standard bag.
Your family/friends deserve the Family/Sharing Size,
don’t you think?

Maybe it’s a graphical thing to balance the swoop that announces the flavour of (baked) (pita) chips on offer here. (No mere Plain, you note, but Simply Naked™.)

Buy our chips.
We make enough (I mean, we care enough)
to make jobs for graphics designers.

Whatever kind of thing it is, I expect it’s coming soon to more products near you.


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10 Responses to Sharing Size

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    Surely that’s the selling point for seven-passenger SUVs? I mean, who in their right mind –soccer moms aside — wants to fill ANY vehicle with that many people?

    Jim T

    Could you tell that I prefer two-person sports cars? Even with only one person in it?


    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Well, we’ve put 6 people in an SUV that will carry 4 in modest comfort and still think we’re mostly in our right minds. In the SUV case, I can see the desirability of having the option, infrequently as it’s used. In the chip case, I can’t see the need to point out the obvious. But ya gotta sell something. As for the sports car, for me, getting in might not be pretty but getting out would be worse. But as we say these days, you do you. And congratulations on still being able to do it.

  2. You underestimate what some people consider a serving. Maybe this is a health and safety warning.

  3. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – by labelling a bag “Sharing size” rather than “Family size” which is limiting, maybe the manufacturer is hoping to bridge the great divide over a potato chip between the Left and the Right in the USA today.

  4. barbara carlson says:

    Stopping at a 24-7 store in Quebec years ago, we saw some potato chips done “kettle” style which in French is Marmite for some reason. John, being British, and not speaking French, said, “There’s a bag I won’t have to share,” and bought it.

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