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WDEL's Delaware Stories
with Mellany Armstrong

Packaging 'seduces' the buyer: New display at Hagley

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You see the warm brown and red package design and think -- I NEED those cookies. What made you feel that way?

"They can make a package kind of convince you, or seduce you, into thinking that it's something that you need."
Nalleli Guillen is a 2nd year PhD student in the University of Delaware's History Department who helped create the collaborative exhibit at the Hagley Library in Wilmington.

"You don't think about the fact that the package helped you choose which cookie to buy, and the character on the box may have drawn you in, or the box that's kind of ugly or old-looking, you wouldn't necessarily want to buy," she said.

"And they do a lot of work in sort of shaping our lives that people don't necessarily think about, so we really wanted to dig into certain products and reveal their stories," she said.

That includes ALPO cat food, Rheingold beer and a DuPont product -- cellophane. History Department supervisor Kasey Grier...

"They actually had a cohort of sales people who were really good at going around to these food companies and explaining to them why they needed to take on this new material, cellophone," Grier said.

The exhibit is on display through March 1, or you can go to

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