Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

How (and where) the mighty have fallen: branded litter

Roper, Stuart and Parker, Cathy (2006) How (and where) the mighty have fallen: branded litter. ISSN 0267-257X

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Packaging has been described as 'the silent salesman' playing an important role in communicating with the consumer at the point of sale. Because of its importance in building recognition and encouraging repeat purchase, the marketing literature focuses upon packaging primarily at the pre-consumption stage. This article reviews this packaging literature and also identifies those studies that have researched packaging post-consumption. The majority of these articles have focussed upon the problems of waste disposal and macro environmental concerns. This paper, however, established the occurrence of packaging as litter in a specific micro-environment, a city centre. Its interest is in contributing to a new stream of research concerned with post-consumption activity. From this study, the brands most likely to be found as litter in a number of categories were identified. The worst offender was Walker's crisps. With 292 packets being found during 352 visits, in other words a visitor to this particular city centre location has likelihood of 83 per cent of seeing a Walker's crisp packet - but is this good or bad for Walker's? This paper discusses the wider social impacts of 'brands as litter' and identifies some interesting areas for future research.

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