In debuting its three-product line of personal lubricants under the Trojan brand, Church & Dwight sought a custom package design that was premium, while meeting its cost-of-good requirements; gender-neutral; easy to use; and discreet and aesthetically pleasing enough to live on a nightstand. That’s according to Sarah Palomba, client director for Product Ventures, the structural packaging design firm that engineered the sensuously sculptured, jewel-toned bottles that launched on retail shelves in April 2013.
“The biggest dance we had to do with consumers was maintaining that gender-neutral appeal,” says Palomba. “We wanted the package to be sensual, but if it went to far in the female direction, and it looked like a perfume bottle or something like that, it would alienate males.”
Through carefully considered form and color, as well as in-depth consumer research, Product Ventures designed a column-shaped, 3-oz custom PET bottle with custom polypropylene cap that is sensual without being tacky, “alluding to an intertwining of two shapes, twisting and turning in a passionate embrace,” says Product Ventures CEO and founder Peter Clarke.
“This category can get a little ‘Vegas,’” he adds. “We did it in a much more elegant way, but still keeping alive that sensuality and that desire, with a kind of electrifying look to it, but not in a tacky way.”
The bottle is deep purple, orange, or blue, depending on product variety and uses translucent tints and pearlescent colorants for a silky, vibrant effect. “It’s kind of an etched effect that almost gives you a sea glass-type of approach,” explains Clarke. “The etching allows the light to kind of bounce around, so that the bottle glows.”
The evocatively swirling bottle shape also lends itself to ergonomic handling. The form is easy to hold with one hand, and when grasped, positions the thumb handily under a ledge beneath the flip cap, allowing for one-handed opening, as well. Says Clarke, “I love it when you have a form that’s both beautiful and ergonomic, without looking like it’s one or the other. This happens to be a gorgeous form that feels good in your hand.”
As for the secondary packaging, a paperboard carton, in addition to picking up the curves of the bottle, the outer package form is intentionally reminiscent of the sensual hourglass shape originally developed by Colangelo for the Trojan Vibrations line of premium vibrators. Broadening the use of this shape is expected to encourage incremental cross-category recognition and purchase. To maximize brand blocking at point of sale, a black wave is utilized as a “super graphic” across all three variants. Additionally, each product’s specific point-of-difference is supported with a telegraphic image that tastefully communicates the unique benefit. For example, the Continuous Silkiness variety, in a blue jewel tone, uses a matching background of a blue bunched silk.
“There is a term in the industry called ‘counter-worthy,’” says Clarke, “which means that a package that is so pleasing from all angles that it’s something you are inclined to be proud to leave out on a counter. One of the requirements of this package was that it needed to live out without embarrassment. So it is discreet and lovely and attractive, and not inappropriate. It becomes like an art form—you can look at it from every angle, and it is pleasing to look at.”