Although there have been numerous examples of cross-category packaging hitting the supermarket shelves over the past few years, the launch of genuinely disruptive packaging is still relatively rare, which is perhaps why brands that do come along with truly innovative packaging more often than not succeed.
One of the best examples of this is eco-friendly household goods brand Method. It has won design awards for its packaging, which seems to take its cues as much from personal care and cosmetics brands as the household category.
The company was founded by former designer and marketer Eric Ryan who was researching a project for a client in a supermarket when he stumbled across the household aisle.
“When he wandered down the aisle, he thought it looked like a category that hadn’t been thought about for decades and had failed to keep pace with the innovations you would see on other supermarket aisles,” says Tim Smith, MD at Method. “So he started looking at it as a category that he could freshen up and bring some innovation to.”
The outcome of Ryan’s work with co-founder Adam Lowry was the perfect mix of form and function: a range of chic-looking household cleaning products complete with clever pump mechanisms to ensure people used the correct dosage.
Method quickly built up strong sales that ultimately led to it being snapped up by rival cleaning brand Ecover last year.
“The differentiation around our packaging gives us a competitive advantage and is something that we actively invest in,” says Smith. “We consider the creation of the bottle as a marketing expense for us and our washing liquid has even appeared in Vogue magazine, which is a justification of that expense.”
He concedes that the company’s bottles cost more to produce than those of rivals, but says that was the “active investment choice that we made to say we don’t want to be a ‘me-too’ product”.
This sensibility rings true with Olivia Adamson, head of operations at Ella’s Kitchen. “If you’re going to do something completely new and different then everything about delivering that product is unknown and harder to deliver so you have to really believe and invest in your idea,” she says.