Feel the brand with Braille

tesco-blind Ever since I got back from Stockholm a couple of weeks ago, where I participated in the Disruptive Media conference, I’ve been dogged with a dreadful cold that doesn’t want to go away.

Earlier this week, it evolved into nasal congestion, resulting in a continuous inflow of pills and potions plus a serious investment in boxes of balm tissues.

So in my shopping for more congestion relief yesterday, I encountered a product whose packaging caught my attention.

Take a look at the photo here (or click the photo for a large-size image at Flickr) of the own-branded congestion relief capsules offered by supermarket chain Tesco.

Notice the little dots on the package? They’re Braille, the dots which form part of the universal writing system used by people who are blind.

So if you were blind, you’d be able to feel what this product is.

I looked at all the other congestion relief products on the supermarket shelf from pharmaceutical companies. A half dozen or so different brands.

Tesco’s product was the only one that included Braille.

It’s the first time I’ve noticed this on product packaging, Tesco’s or anyone else’s.

While I have no idea what the market size of blind people is (and I guess there is such a demographic), doing something like this is a great idea as it enables you to include a group of people who you probably wouldn’t reach with your brand otherwise.

And if a sighted person is doing the shopping on behalf of a blind person, he or she might choose your product simply because it includes Braille, thus enabling the blind person to ‘read’ about the product him or herself.


I bought the product, by the way. Not because of the Braille on the packaging but because it a) contained exactly the same ingredients as the branded alternatives, and b) it was considerably cheaper.

And it seems to work.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Sharlyn Ayotte

    Thank you for sharing your story on the braille labelling. It is certainly a good start for producers of pharmaceutical companies to do, but equally as important are the instructions for use.
    I recently quit smoking and was introduced by my family physician to a new smoking cessation drug. Since I do not use anything stronger than vitamins, I was confident that I could keep them straight. Vitamin C is the big pill, while the smoking cessation drug had a much different shape…but entirely different instructions following day 3 and again after day 6.
    The side effects reported by my physician were minimal and included potentially mild nausea and insomnia.
    On day 4 I became violently ill. With the assistance of my talking computer Rocco, I was off on a search of the perscribed drug, only to discover that it had a name change! To my complete surprise I discovered that it had been renamed and had approximately fifty side effects including syninosis, arythmia, vomiting and a host of
    other life altering potential side effects
    All of this to say, that it is great that accessible labelling has arrived making identification of products possible, but at the end of the day, we throw away the boxes, and we need to know the instructions for using the product in a safe and appropriate manner.

  2. neville

    Sharlyn, thanks for your thoughtful comments.

    It’s a good point re the instructions. The Tesco product came with the usual folded paper in the box with detailed info on the product, active ingredients, health warnings, etc, plus directions on usage.

    Some of that is also on the back of the packaging which, incidentally, also has Braille information.

    But is that information more than just, say, usage directions? Maybe such products that have Braille on the box could also have, say, a card inside that has detailed information in Braille.

    Not impossible to do.

    I’d love to know what anyone at Tesco might have to say, assuming they’re paying attention to blogosphere commentary on their products…

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