Anatomy of a Listerine Bottle Label

Posted on October 4, 2010 by


So I was minding my own business. You know, urinating into the toilet in the bathroom. When suddenly, I noticed the bottle of mouthwash on the shelf, Listerine, staring me right in the face as I was peeing. As I finished unloading my stream of yellow refreshment into the bowl (t.m.i.?), I realized how shitty the Listerine label’s design is.

Tasty Acid. See the problems with the label?

If you don’t see at least three problems with the label, I suggest you reevaluate your ability to notice detail. Once I saw it, I could not unsaw [sic] it. Here’s just some of the problems:

I originally thought “Cool Mint” was the parent company of Listerine. Turns out “Cool Mint” is just the flavor of this particular Listerine. Really, make the flavor the same bold type as your brand name? Confusion much? I would like to also point out the shitty copy, “Kills germs that cause Bad Breath, Plaque, & the gum disease Gingivitis.” If you are a copywriter, you would agree with me that the sentence is quite redundant in a bad way. Not to also mention [again] the shitty typeface they choose for the copy. I didn’t think someone would use Times New Roman [sic] for anything other than school essays and default type, but the Listerine people sure showed me how its done


Quite irked that such a popular and well-known mouthwash would half-ass they label. Well, I guess if you’ve been around and is as popular as Listerine is, people in the hygiene aisle aren’t buyiing the brand for how it looks like. The people are buying it because they know Listerine is a brand that can be trusted, as their parents used it, the grandparents use it, and even the grandparents’ parent have probably used Listerine. Ahh, such the power of brand familiarity.

Conclusion: Brand over form; Brand over function.

postscript: I lurve me some Listerine despite the ugly label

Posted in: Packaging, Typography