Packcept or Concept, Which Should I Do?

Packcept or Concept, Which Should I Do?

In a previous post I talked about how to field a concept test.  This article will focus on the concept test’s cousin, the “packcept” test.  Essentially, the two tests are trying to understand the same thing.  Consumers are shown a product idea on a page and are asked, “Will you buy this?”  The big difference between the two isn’t the methodology.  The reason why a market researcher would choose to do a packcept over a concept test has everything to do with how the product will be launched in-market.

Concept = Copy, Packcept = Package:

One of the purposes of concept and packcept testing is to generate the data need to do conduct a volume forecast.  The stimulus the respondent is shown should be representative of the amount of information they have on the product in real-life.  Concepts are meant to simulate TV copy.  They are typically longer and can pack-in more emotion.  Packcepts are for products that will launch without significant copy GRP’s behind them.

By testing packcepts, researchers and forecasters get a better sense of how this shelf-only information will impact product appeal.  The forecaster can then better adjust their models to estimate this low-communication launch.

So What Should a Packcept Stimulus Look Like?

Packcept stimuli basically look like short concepts.  However, packcepts only include the copy available to the consumer on the package.  They are much simpler and don’t have to include all the same elements of a concept.  At a minimum, a packcept stimulus should include these elements:

  • Product brand and sub-brand name.
  • Product benefit statement
  • Any claims or credentialing present on the package
  • Available flavors, sizes, weights, recipes, etc
  • Price

Unlike the explicit concept language of consumer beliefs, clear benefit statements, and hard-hitting reasons to believe, packcepts are pretty dry.  Again, this is meant to simulate real-life where the consumer doesn’t have a head full of TV slogans and can only make their purchase decision based on a package.

Final Considerations on Packcepts:

If you do decide to test a packcept, there are a few things you will want to bear in-mind:

  • Packcept scores are not comparable to concept scores.  They should not be compared 1:1 with concept scores or v. concept score databases.  This is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
  • Packcepts are tested in a vacuum.  On-shelf, that package will have competition.  Good packcept scores don’t always mean good packaging.
  • If the business doesn’t want to pay for that choice-model and they don’t plan to give the product sufficient media spend to warrant a concept test, are they really expecting the product to be big?


Although much less popular than concept tests, packcept tests have their place in the market researcher’s arsenal.  In rare circumstances when understanding just the product’s on-pack communication is the businesses’ primary objective, packcepts are the way to go.

Do you have any personal stories about packcept testing that you want to add?  If you want to share more than just a title, benefit, and claims about your packcept testing experience, feel free to do so in the comments below.

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