April 1, 2006
Max-ing out a Brand Refresh
This March, P&G reinvented the MAX Factor brand, with new products, packaging and palettes developed by Pat McGrath, a renowned makeup artist who is also P&G’s global creative design director. Gone are the MAX Factor colors blue and gold; now, replaced by chic black. And the monogram logo has been swapped for one that looks like studio lights, a link to the brand’s historic Hollywood associations. In-store displays mimic the new packaging and include visuals of actress Carmen Electra, who is also touted in print and broadcast ads as the new face of the brand. The company reports that the new look is rolling out at “select” mass retail locations, most prominently Wal-Mart; the word “select” hints at recent de-listings at Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and Target. While most experts flag that as signs of a struggling brand, some say it’s a strategy to offer a retailer brand exclusivity—which has benefited store brands for some time.
Package “bursts” consumer expectations
With its introduction of Volcano Lime Burst, Dream Foods International hasn’t challenged the old-school look of lemon and lime-shaped squeeze bottles. But by adding a small compartment of essential oils in the patented cap, the company delivers a product said to more closely replicate the taste of fresh-squeezed lime. “Normally consumers bought these products out of need. But they get them home and they smell like cleaning solution,” says Dream Foods founder Adriana Kahane. Lime Burst follows the success of the company’s Lemon Burst product, which introduced the patented cap designed at the company’s bottling factory in Sicily, near the Mt. Etna volcano that inspired the brand’s name. Volcano Lime Burst is available in both natural and mainstream retailers.
Brands reshape kids’ beverage options
Packaging—structure in particular—is a key tactic in the water wars taking place to lure kids from sugar-laden juices. Nestlé Waters North America is the latest to use the approach, introducing Aquapod, a globular 11-ounce bottle of spring water that mimics the appearance of a blown up latex glove. “Kids think it’s fun, parents know it’s good for them; it’s a win-win situation,” said Jorge Torres, the company’s brand marketing manager. The Aquapod is offered in the Midwest at Target and Wal-Mart stores under Nestlé Waters’ Ice Mountain brand until June, when it will expand to national distribution under the banner of the company’s other regional brands: Arrowhead (Western states); Deer Park (Mid-Atlantic and Southeast); Ozarka (Texas and South Central states), Poland Spring (Northeast) and Zephyrhills (Florida). No word on whether adding “pod” to the name is an attempt to borrow kids’ loyalties to the iPod.
Microwaveable Sauces Add Finishing Touch
McCormick & Co. has launched a new line of “finishing sauces” in microwaveable, retortable standup pouches (www.ampacflexibles.com). Each five-ounce pouch makes two to three servings and can be either microwaved (approximately 45 seconds) or poured into a saucepan and heated. Prior to microwaving, the pouch is cut diagonally across a score line printed on the back panel, which allows for venting during heating and also facilitates pouring. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated and used for a subsequent meal. The line is available in five flavors—honey mustard, red Burgundy wine for beef, roasted chicken gravy with herbs, creamy mushroom and roasted beef—and retails for about $1.99
A better butter wrapper
Butter readily absorbs the odors and flavors of its fellow refrigerator inhabitants. So when Land O’ Lakes research revealed that consumers considered freshness among the most important factors in their purchasing decisions, the company wisely stepped forward to introduce a FlavorProtect Wrapper. According to LOL, independent testing has confirmed the new wrapper to retain freshness and keep undesirable flavors out better than wax paper. For consumers, the change is subtle—the wrapper still includes the brand’s Indian Maiden logo and measurement lines, and it can be easily cut and is microwave safe. But the FlavorProtect name is prominently displayed on each wrapper to communicate the “fresh” promise. One pound and half-pound packages of Land O’ Lakes Butter and Unsalted Butter feature the wrapping, which does not affect the price of the products. LOL is supporting the launch with a national television advertising campaign, online promotion and in-package offers.
Salad dressings that “spritz”
New Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers dressings come packaged in spray bottles designed to give users more control over their calorie consumption. Available nationally beginning May 1, the Spritzers line features a custom spray nozzle that lets consumers top their salads with one-calorie of dressing per spray; you can spray each bite or spritz the entire salad. “This is a true innovation in dressing salads,” says Dana Emery, marketing director of Wish-Bone dressings. Each seven-ounce bottle is said to dress more salad than a bottle double its size—a serving size is 10 sprays for a cup of salad; the bottle is said to dress 26 salads in all. For a historical perspective on this packaging concept, read next month’s “Marketing Misfires” column.
A new shape for tape
It has been used to protect the Goodyear blimp and even repair a floppy disk authorities needed to solve a murder case. It’s Scotch transparent tape. The brand, led by Cindy Pichotta, celebrated its 75th anniversary recently by modernizing the classic “snail” tape dispenser (the first time in 60 years), a widely recognized, almost iconic package structure. This new “Scotch contour” dispenser maintains its widely recognizable “snail” profile but takes it in a sleeker, more contemporary form that maintains the brand’s relevance in the 21st century home and office. The packaging does not replace the classic Scotch “Magic Tape” dispenser but, rather, is offered as another alternative; the contour dispenser features a glossy-finish tape. The new packaging comes in four colors—lime, berry, mango and lilac—and retails for $2.99 at food, drug, mass merchandise, office supply and warehouse club stores.