This weekend I opened a new package of Dryel. For any thrifty person, Dryel is a must. I routinely dry clean my clothes in my own dryer with Dryel a couple of times before I take them to the commercial cleaner, saving hundreds of dollars.
There has been a definite evolution in this relatively new product. Their first bags had Velcro closings, often opening in the middle of a cleaning. Some items invariably came out. Now the bag is made not only with a zipper, but of more substantial material.
But it's the little bottle inserted in all packages that has me fascinated from a packaging and consumer expectation standpoint.
First off, I have used what was first described as "stain remover" and now labeled "cleaning booster" very little. This is evident as I have one brand new (not used yet), one sort of old (never used) and one really old bottle (half-used) in my cleaning closet. At least Dryel got smart enough to stop enclosing an "absorbent pad" and now directs the user to place the item to be cleaned on a paper towel moistened with the product. However, I wonder if they have done any studies to see if anyone really uses this cleaning booster. I certainly don't.
Secondly, as I noted how significantly the label design had changed, I wondered why Procter & Gamble would make such significant moves. I was fortunate to find the very re-designer's motivation and process:
- The package was old. Period. And redesigning your packaging often shows your consumers that you're still interested and invested in your product.
- The Dryel home dry cleaning system was going to be "new and improved" and the packaging needed to convey that message. Both verbally (in copy) and aesthetically.
- Lower cost products had entered the market (where I believe Dryel was more or less alone before) and Dryel needed to combat this new competition.
Coho (the design company) went through the usual steps -- research, assess, strategize -- and saw an opportunity to modernize and brighten the packaging, clean up the visual clutter, and develop a clear hierarchy of communication (features, benefits, etc.). We created several options, ranging from "close in" to "far out," and presented them to the Dryel team.
Wow! Sometimes I wish that I were gifted with visual creativity and could have such a job! It's got to be a lucrative field -- if successful.
Hmm, in checking out other packaging, it looks like Kraft tried the modern, clean look in 2010; but what I have in my refrigerator today (picture, right) in 2012 looks a little retro. Maybe as we re-develop the old-fashioned habits of saving and thriftiness, marketers are now finding that they can promote old-fashioned "comfort food in a bag"?