Peekskill-Based The Arcanna Marketing Group Designs Highly Recognizable Logos

Bob Frissora and his son Steve have designed logos and packaging for NASCAR, Aquafina and Foodtown, among others.

Whether you’re watching a speedy NASCAR race or drinking a cold bottle of Aquafina, you are not just enjoying a race or a drink—you are also being fed carefully crafted logos and packaging designed to make a lasting impression on you. The iconic logos for these two popular brands were designed by Peekskill-based The Arcanna Marketing Group, a packaging design company that has created and redesigned the packaging and logos for companies—both national and store brands—for more than two decades.

Bob Frissora and his son, Steve, founded Arcanna in 1989 after Bob and his two business partners split from their New York City advertising firm. In 1992, they moved the company to its current location in Peekskill.

The Frissoras assert that they are not graphic designers applying their artistic capabilities to the commercial world—their designs are based on product-specific research which, they say, ultimately results in increased sales. “A lot of it has to do with getting to know the consumer, because you can’t design in a bubble,” says Steve. Such extensive research helps them build packaging that appeals to the specific demographics a product is targeting. For example, Arcanna was hired by food-manufacturing company Vigo to help sell its products targeted to first-generation Latin American immigrants. Instead of using swanky, modern designs, Arcanna emulated the more traditional packaging styles that are commonplace on Latin American store shelves. Arcanna’s efforts have helped consumers connect with and buy Vigo-branded foods.

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As the US grocery market is valued at more than $900 billion, the competition among brands for even the smallest slice of this massive pie is fierce. Companies have to pay retailers for shelf space and then hope their product sells. Bob says proper packaging is the only way to differentiate yourself. “Your graphics have to stand out and, more important, your brand has to stand out.” Enter Arcanna.

Foodtown, a Northeast supermarket cooperative with multiple Westchester locations, is one of Arcanna’s largest and longest-running accounts. Foodtown hired Arcanna to redesign the packaging for its hundreds of store-brand grocery items. At first glance, Foodtown’s private brand looked cheap and simple. “The packaging on all of their generic products was very boring—bland and plain,” Bob says. “They didn’t have a lot of design skills, and they weren’t really a homogenous brand.”

Through researching the supermarket industry, the Frissoras understood that store brands were likely to significantly increase in market share in the near future. To take advantage of this, they upgraded Foodtown’s old, generic packaging to sharper, higher-quality designs. Instead of “templating” the new designs, like many other private brands had done, Arcanna created individually designed product packages to compete head-to-head with their national-brand counterparts. They also helped reinvent the Foodtown brand and design style. “We made Foodtown’s products more appealing to the mass market, and, in many cases, customers now prefer the private brand over the national brand,” Bob says.

Arcanna’s redesign of Foodtown’s product packaging was so popular that other supermarkets now sell Foodtown’s private brand in their own stores. “We’re not here to make pretty packaging,” Steve says. “We’re here to make packaging that sells.”

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