In January 2021, Unilever's Dove deodorant brand redefined reusable retail packaging, creating a sleek and sophisticated design-forward system with a refillable stainless-steel deodorant case and compact refills. With its new Dove Reusable Body Wash Bottles + Concentrate Refills, the brand has taken a page from the household cleaning category by offering concentrated product refills paired with two “too beautiful to throw away” reusable bottles.
According to a Dove spokesperson, the brand currently has more than 100 different projects running across the world looking at every facet of its packaging, across the three dimensions of no/better/less plastic. “We know that reusables are of huge interest to consumers,” the spokesperson says, “and as industry leaders, it’s our responsibility to drive innovations that incentivize purchase behaviors with products that enable people to consume more consciously.”
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The body wash system, which was launched in January 2022, is available in a starter kit that comes with a reusable 16-oz bottle, made from either aluminum or 100% recycled high-density polyethylene, depending on consumer preference, with a reusable plastic dispensing pump. Dove says it created the two bottle choices to help meet consumer preferences regarding price and material. “For those who would prefer to purchase the least amount of plastic, the aluminum bottle is available at a higher price point,” a brand spokesperson explains. “Alternately, the recycled plastic bottle is available at a lower price point than the aluminum bottle.”
Also in the starter kit is a 4-oz HDPE bottle of concentrated product in one of three varieties—Daily Moisture, Shea & Warm Vanilla, or Cucumber—fitted with a proprietary Quick Connect Cap that allows for mess-free filling of the reusable bottle. Says Dove, “The innovative technology allows the cap to easily connect and seamlessly release the concentrated formulation without pouring. The cap was designed originally by our Homecare division and is used on brands like CIF [household cleaning products] globally.”
To use the concentrate refills, the consumer begins by twisting both the refill and the cap onto the neck of the reusable bottle until they hear a “click.” This indicates the refill is now open and ready to dispense by simply squeezing the refill contents into the bottle. A view strip on the refill indicates when the bottle is empty, for complete evacuation of the concentrate. Next, the consumer fills the bottle with water and then shakes the contents to mix. The aluminum container incorporates a groove to indicate the fill line, while the plastic bottle has a view strip.
Partnering with Dove, international design agency JDO was tasked with designing the reusable bottles as well as the concentrate refills and starter kits. According to the agency, the creative solution needed to embrace Dove’s iconic design principles while also conveying the innovative sustainable proposition in a clear and compelling way.
For the reusable bottles, JDO shares that it developed an elegantly modern illustration with botanical imagery to adorn the packages. “Layered green fronds against the silver of the premium aluminum bottle give off a spa-like quality,” the agency says. “The final touch is a Dove icon in gold with the instructions, ‘Refill, Reuse, Repeat,’ an understated accent that keeps the design simple, sophisticated, and absolutely stunning.”
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Comments Bronwen Westrip, Creative Director at JDO, “This innovation is so easy to use, and Dove products are so renowned for their quality that there was no need to over-clutter the bottles or the concentrate refills with too much information. This allowed us to really focus on creating a clean aesthetic that appealed to the consumer desire for more sustainable solutions as well as their desire for beautiful products. Our hope is to inspire them to use Dove’s new Body Wash Reusable Bottle & Concentrate Refills for a new personal care routine that looks good in the bathroom, feels good on the skin, and does good for the planet over time.”
The refillable/reusable system, with the aluminum bottle, is said to reduce plastic by 50% after two refills versus Dove’s standard plastic bottle. The HDPE bottle reduces plastic by 50% after four refills. In addition, the system results in 80% less water shipped per refill and 21% fewer greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing over a year. The reusable bottles were manufactured to be durable, and as part of Dove’s consumer promise of “buy once, refill for life,” the containers carry a lifetime guarantee. Says Dove, “We’re proud that consumers have a new, reusable option for both products without having to compromise on the product experience they expect from Dove.”
Now available at retail, the starter kit with aluminum bottle is $14.99; the kit with plastic bottle is $9.99. Refills sold individually are $6.49 apiece.